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Rams: NFL not viable in St. Louis

New Hollywood Park stadium

St. Louis Rams management says the NFL is not viable in the St. Louis market — the cornerstone of why the team should be allowed to move to Los Angeles and to a new Inglewood stadium.

St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers owners all submitted relocation applications to the NFL on Monday, and we’ll be looking at each of them. For Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his management team, the argument is simple: St. Louis is a bad, stagnant market, while Kroenke’s plan for the largest stadium in the NFL would also benefit the league by generating tens of millions more in profits at future Super Bowls than a proposed Carson stadium. Add in the fact that the St. Louis new-stadium financial plan relies heavily on team and NFL money, and Kroenke’s argument is clear: it’s all about the money, and his Inglewood stadium can generate lots of it.

Which, actually, is how the NFL is also framing this process. There are some romantic arguments to be made about the Rams returning to Los Angeles, where the team played at the Los Angeles Coliseum (1946–1979) and Anaheim Stadium (1980-1994) after a move from Cleveland and before a move to St. Louis. But with the stakes so high — Los Angeles is the second-largest U.S. media market — league officials have not been shy about the need to make the right decision in a return there, as well as not burning some bridges in communities like St. Louis, which has apparently met all criteria set forth by league officials to retain their team.

We say apparently, as the Rams say otherwise in their application for a move (which you can read here), per the Belleville News-Democrat:

As for the $1.1 billion proposal put forth by a task force assembled by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, “No NFL club would be interested in the … new St. Louis stadium,” the Rams stated plainly….

“Putting the Rams’ contract rights under its current St. Louis Lease aside, even the most cursory analysis of the St. Louis financial proposal makes no economic sense for an NFL team,” the application stated….

The Rams argument against St. Louis cites provisions in the original lease for the Edward Jones Dome that promised the team a “first tier NFL stadium” for 30 years. According to the Rams, the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which owns the Edward Jones Dome, hasn’t delivered on those criteria for 12 years.

NFL owners are expected to decide on a Los Angeles relocation plan next week, on Jan. 12-13.

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August Publications