On the Rams’ website, it’s a simple, merciless two-sentence statement: “The St. Louis Rams informed the National Football League today that the Rams propose to relocate to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The relocation would be effective for the 2016 NFL League Year.” The Rams’ full application to move to L.A., which you can read below, is somehow even more brutal. It denigrates the entire city of St. Louis painting its economic future in bleak terms, and declares St. Louis incapable of supporting an NFL team.
It is one thing to know that owner Stan Kroenke wants out of St. Louis. It is another thing entire to see put down on paper, in such stark terms, his argument that St. Louis is a second-tier-and-falling American city.
St. Louis lags, and will continue to lag, far behind in the economic drivers that are necessary for sustained success of an NFL franchise.
Compared to all other U.S. cities, St. Louis is struggling. One recent study reports that St. Louis ranks 490 out of 515 U.S. cities and 61st among the 64 largest U.S. cities in economic growth in recent years. That same study reported that St. Louis had the lowest rate of population growth of any major U.S. city from 2008 to 2014 – registering a loss of 1.74 percent of its citizens while most cities registered gains. Thus, the City of St. Louis ranks near the bottom of all U.S. cities of any size in terms of economic and population growth.
But for the Rams and the Chargers and the Raiders, the time to be polite is over. The NFL’s owners will hold a special meeting next week on relocation. Though a formal vote may not come for weeks or months, next week’s meeting will be where the heavy lifting is done. As of now, reportedly, each of the three owners has enough allies to block any other team’s move (relocation requires a three-fourths majority vote). There will be glad-handing and power-broking and backroom promises made, until someone—and the Rams are the apparent frontrunners—collects enough support to ditch their city and their fans.
So, now is the time for Stan Kroenke, as well Mark Davis and Dean Spanos, to take a dump all over their fans and tell the NFL why it’d be better off without those cities. It’s a horrible, horrible situation, and one the NFL has actively encouraged. I’d urge all football fans to remember this anytime the NFL tries to tell you it could give two shits about its fans.
“St. Louis Is Not A Three Professional Team Market,” runs the header for one section of the Rams’ application, arguing that there simply isn’t enough money in the city to support teams in three sports. It goes on to denigrate Missouri’s proposal for a new riverfront stadium for the Rams, which already commits more than $350 million in public money (plus increasing concessions in naming rights and ticket taxes). “Any NFL Club that signs on to this proposal,” the application says, “will be well on the road to financial ruin, and the League will be harmed.”
The Rams’ full application is below. They’re the only one of the three teams that have publicly released theirs, but rest assured, fans in Oakland and San Diego, your teams are shitting on you just as hard, in the hopes that the league will let them leave you.