NFL braces for billion-dollar exposure in St. Louis litigation

USA TODAY Sports

From time to time, it’s been suggested that the litigation over the relocation of the Rams could result in at least $1 billion flowing from the NFL to St. Louis. It could be a lot more than that.

The article from Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com detailing Tuesday’s meeting among owners regarding the possibility that Rams owner Stan Kroenke will renege on his commitment to pay the full bill for the case includes two paragraphs that justify significant attention and scrutiny.

As Wickersham explains it, the discussion included an exchange between NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and Cowboys owner (and Kroenke supporter) Jerry Jones regarding potential settlement of the case.

Jones asked Pash if Kroenke had tried to settle the case. Pash said that Kroenke has tried.

Here’s the key portion of Wickersham’s article, regarding what came next: “Jones indicated that Kroenke’s settlement figure was billions of dollars. Pash refused to confirm the figure — a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN it was less than a billion — but told those in the meeting that it was more than the net worth of some in the room.”

It’s not entirely clear whether that’s the amount the St. Louis plaintiffs had demanded, the amount Kroenke already had offered, or the amount Kroenke would be willing to pay. Whatever it is, it shows that the owners are taking the situation seriously, that they realize the final outcome could be financially devastating for the league.

That’s probably why Kroenke is looking for a loophole in his indemnity agreement. And it’s why the league already has contemplated the possibility of offering St. Louis an expansion franchise in order to make everything go away.

It’s also why everyone should be paying close attention to this one. St. Louis has the NFL on the run, and it’s bad enough that the NFL owners seem to be heading for a fight regarding who will foot the eventual bill.

57 responses to “NFL braces for billion-dollar exposure in St. Louis litigation

  1. Good I hope St. Louis wins. I love the NFL but I hate when billions extort taxpayers for stadiums they can pay for themselves.

  2. I’m not on either side, frankly all I want is to watch football. But this reminds me of a entitled kid( St. Louis) who cries that nobody showed up to his bday party but still wants the other kids (NFL) to still send him presents.

  3. As much as I love watching NFL Gamedays, I want to see some justice for these cities that have gotten screwed by greedy owners. They are making billions off the backs of taxpayers and have gotten away with for years….I would LOVE to see them pay for it!

  4. The league will end up “settling” this by putting another team in St Louis. Introducing the St. Louis Jaguars.

  5. Welcome to the NFL, St. Louis Stallions. Great that the NFL paid in full for your new stadium on the riverfront, including infrastructure upgrades. Enjoy hosting the 2030 Super Bowl, St. Louis!

  6. Hard to believe that a team can create billions of dollars of damage to a city by leaving. Seriously? The team might gross $400-500 million a year and nets some small % of that (10-20% max). Unless there is a Tesla multiple attached, the city itself doesn’t lose billions. Good luck proving that in court. Unless the damages are supposed to cover the next 100 years or something.

  7. Few things in life would make me smile more than the NFL having to give St Louis an expansion team and Kroenke having to fork over a billion $ to help with their new stadium.

    I’m not even from St Louis. The league and Kroenke did the city dirty on this one.

  8. Cincinnati Bengals lease is up soon, and they have burned too many tax payer bridges = St. Louis Bengals.

  9. Stan will just raise everything at ALL the national Walmart stores.10 cents. That should take of the settlement.

  10. If St. Louis can prove “billions” of dollars in damages if a team leaves, then the opposite is true. It is worth “billions” of dollars for a team to relocate to a city.

    I guess the crying about taxpayers funding stadiums is gone forever.

  11. Thanks to profit sharing you will soon be charged $40 for a beer and $30 for a hot dog at the stadium!

  12. How’s things going with Buffalo’s tax payer funded new stadium? I’ve heard nothing but crickets lately.

  13. pbdisciple says:
    October 27, 2021 at 7:37 pm
    Hard to believe that a team can create billions of dollars of damage to a city by leaving. Seriously?

    ——————

    It’s really not hard to believe at all. St. Louis now has a stadium loan to pay with no tenant. They have lost income tax revenues, lost sales tax revenues, lost economic impact for sales on game days (restaurants, bars, hotels, etc)

    St. Louis was the only city of the three that was actively negotiating in good faith to try to keep their team, ironically, Kroenke was the only owner of the three that wanted to move.

    The NFL is going to pay through the nose. I hope they settle out with a new St. Louis expansion team and stadium. 🤷🏼‍♂️

  14. A couple of thoughts…what idiot running a city would think having an nfl team is better than having a billion dollars for the city? And how much corruption and skimming off the top would happen if a city just had a billion dollars given to them? I guarantee you the tax payers don’t win this one either way.

  15. Why don’t they just make a rule, that from now on, nobody moves, anywhere! I hate it when a team moves from its fanbase. Like the Ravens leaving Cleveland, the Raiders leaving Oakland, even the Colts sneaking out of Baltimore. And the Rams were once before in LA, so it’s like they’re home. So just stop it, no more moves.

  16. mutygerfan says:
    October 27, 2021 at 7:32 pm
    Just give us our own team, we’ll call it even.

    …and that is exactly what is going to happen!!!

  17. To the one who suggested the Chargers, sorry Minimum 40 year lease with Stan the man to play in his palace. Cincy, no clue. Jax doesn’t draw, so maybe. Expansion team maybe, but should bring in 2 teams. Detroit all we want to do is win a few games, maybe. Lol

  18. The Jaguars aren’t moving. After the season, they will be starting construction on a new headquarters practice/training facility. They will also begin construction on a luxury hotel next to the stadium. And they’ve already started discussions on what is needed for a full renovation of the stadium itself.

    It will all be done before their lease expires, which is still a decade away.

    Sorry. I know a lot of you will be disappointed.

  19. Serious question (somewhat). Is LA entitled to sue St. Louis for part of the settlement? And then Cleveland sue LA for the Rams moving there in the first place? When the Browns moved to Baltimore didn’t they win the moniker? How does that work when St. Louis never has had a team that started there? Do the Chiefs or city of Dallas get the rights to ‘Texans’?

  20. Did the NFL really think they could rip away existing franchises from their cities for the sake of major financial gain without any repercussions? None of us have enough popcorn for what’s about to go down! Dance Jerruh, dance.

  21. Help me out here. Did Los Angeles sue the NFL and former owner Georgia Frontiere moved the team from L.A. to St Louis? Seems to me, they’re just getting their team back.erhaps the Chargers who really don’t have a fan base in L.> might consider going to StLouis. That would get the NFL off the hook.

  22. The perfect settlement… The NFL awards St. Louis an expansion team and Kroenke pays St. Louis $1 billion, which is used to fund a new stadium. In the end Kroenke finances the St. Louis stadium after all.

  23. pbdisciple says:
    October 27, 2021 at 7:37 pm
    Hard to believe that a team can create billions of dollars of damage to a city by leaving. Seriously? The team might gross $400-500 million a year and nets some small % of that (10-20% max). Unless there is a Tesla multiple attached, the city itself doesn’t lose billions. Good luck proving that in court. Unless the damages are supposed to cover the next 100 years or something

    ______________________________________________
    They are suing for loss of income and damages. Not having a team damages the desirability of the city for tourists and new residents. They are trying to put a dollar amount on intangible losses.

  24. A few points to note: The Chargers are not leaving SoCal and STL doesn’t want them. STL wants an expansion team with a committed and local owner, a Top-tier stadium paid for by the NFL and a lot of cash. The more owner-on-owner violence and the brewing WFT issue, the better for STL.

  25. The thing about giving St Louis a new team, besides figuring out details of who owns the team etc., is that the league would want a second new team to balance out the numbers. To me that second team will cushion the financial hit due to the huge expansion fee the league and all the owners would get.

  26. Interesting twist happening. If cities can recoup this much money from the NFL for leaving, how much profits does the city and it’s businesses make per season for having an NFL team. I would love to see the documents St Louis is presenting that breaks all this down. Maybe cities do make a bundle of money from the NFL and that’s why they ask the taxpayers to fund their stadiums. Readers would like some clarity on this.

  27. Not only is St. Louis out the revenue they would have received from having the Rams, they are out significant money spent in the process of acting in good faith to try and build a fancy new stadium for them, all while Kroenke assured them he was open to that option. In fact, he was never seriously considering staying in St. Louis. Tack on the fact that the NFL disregarded their own standards in considering whether to authorize the move given that St. Louis was actively working to address the stadium situation. Kroenke is among the slimiest of sports executives.

  28. If the NFL loses, a bottle of spring water at the games might be around $69.00 plus $10.00 deposit.

  29. The damage to a city can’t only be counted in dollars and cents. It’s also the emotional investment from the fans ( financially too, when they buy tickets for those seasons when the team is bad, or tanking, and the fan are still showing up and spending their hard earned money to support the team).Professional sports teams should be prevented to move to another city on a whim. I still remember when the Quebec Nordiques of the NHL left the city for Denver after being there for many years and never being champions only for the renamed Colorado Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup in their first year in the new home.

  30. Won’t be surprised if the NFL loses in court, or pays out a massive settlement.

    But St Louis will NEVER get a team back if that happens.

  31. nobull says:
    October 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm
    The league will end up “settling” this by putting another team in St Louis. Introducing the St. Louis Jaguars.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Why is the answer always to move the Jaguars to StL? for one, relocation is where this problem began, Well that and the CVC deal they made with the Rams. Jags attendance has been pretty solid for the market; stadium is too big because of FLA-GA game and the fact the franchise is 40-110 since Shad took ownership and honestly wasn’t much better before. A game here in September is pretty brutal, and it’s time for a cover/roof.

    TIAA is starting to show age. It is getting addressed; the organization is moving outside the stadium so stadium reconstruction can happen throughout the offseason(s). The area is in a renaissance of sorts.
    The point JAX finally has a QB, and things are moving in the right direction so bleep off about the Jags moving. StL needs an Expansion team, a team of their own, for once.

  32. In regards to the NFL/Kroenke paying a settlement **and** St Louis getting an expansion team, why would that ever happen? That would be like getting a divorce, having your a judge awarding your ex your bank accounts, and then asking them to spend every weekend with you. The lawsuit basically guarantees that St. Louis never gets an NFL team again.

  33. I don’t want another team. It would be nice if the money from the lawsuit (if STL wins) were to go for infrastructure, education, things like that.
    Yes, we lost 2 teams and would lose more. But stan should not have insulted the city. That is karma.

  34. The city of San Diego should immediately sue the Slanos family and the Chargers. They came up with a stadium plan in mission valley and then Dean Spanos then said downtown San Diego because he knew it wouldn’t pass because he already had his eye on LA like a moron not realizing 95 % of Chargers fanabse is in San Diego.

  35. ThePewterPirate says:
    October 27, 2021 at 9:11 pm
    “St. Louis was the only city of the three that was actively negotiating in good faith to try to keep their team, ironically, Kroenke was the only owner of the three that wanted to move”

    Not true. City & county of San Diego offered Deadbeat Dean combined $500 million of free, taxpayer money if he built new stadium at existing Mission Valley site. The Deadbeat said, “either you give me $750 million of public funds and a site in downtown San Diego or I’m leaving”. So instead of taking half a billion dollars of public money along with the hundreds of millions the NFL was prepared to give the deadbeat Spanos family, he chose to move where nobody wanted or asked for the Chargers. And since 2017 the Chargers have become not only the laughingstock of the NFL, but the running joke of the sports world.

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