The Rams, who are 22-73-1 in their last six seasons, won a battle against the city of St. Louis yesterday over the Edward Jones Dome, their home since 1995. Arbitrators ruled in favor of the Rams' plan, which would require a $700 million renovation to the current stadium. The "renovation" is widely understood to mean "demolition and reconstruction"—as currently consituted, the Edward Jones Dome couldn't structurally withstand the proposed renovation. That drastic step is made necessary because a clause in the Rams' contract with the city says that the Rams require a "first-tier stadium." Arbitrators agreed with the Rams that the current stadium doesn't have "enough openness" and that "there was insufficient light inside," according to an on-scene report from KSDK in St. Louis. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission had proposed $124 million in renovations to the existing stadium:
The CVC has long claimed it would not be able to go beyond its proposal of $124 million; of that $124 million proposal, the CVC was responsible for $60 million of it. The Rams had agreed to help out with the rest of the money, but that was before they hired the same company who designed the Dallas Cowboy's new stadium and came up with a $700 million revamp of the dome.
The CVC has 30 days in which to decide whether to accept the deal, though the Post-Dispatch reports that a lead attorney for the CVC said that outcome is "unlikely." If they reject the deal, the Rams will start occupying the Edward Jones Dome on a year-to-year lease, with a probable out in 2015. In May of 2012, Albert Breer of NFL.com pointed out the potential importance of that decision:
The team has submitted a proposal to renovate the Edward Jones Dome to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. If it's accepted, the team's lease extends through 2025. If it's rejected, an arbitrator will work out a compromise plan, and the city accepting that one in December would also extend the lease to '25. If the city turns that one down, an out could be enacted in the Rams' lease in January 2015, pending some litigation.
What we know is owner Stan Kroenke has deep pockets and Los Angeles ties. The ball, for now, is in St. Louis' court to get the dome into the lease-prescribed "top 25 percent" of venues in the league.
It still is, for the next 30 days. So St. Louis is rallying around their beloved Rams, right? Well, Facebook comments are purely anecdotal evidence, but the people keeping track of the story on KSDK.com aren't exactly marching on City Hall:
ball park village - arch grounds - new dome - who the HELL is paying for all this stuff???? Ridiculous
I have no interest in paying for this!
The Rams want us to spend 750 million? Are you kidding me??
They can spend whatever they want, WHEN THEY PAY FOR IT!!!
Far as I'm concerned, they can leave now...
Hey...I'm in SoCal and we don't want them, either.
The scenario is playing out almost the same way as it did when the team first moved to STL. They didn't get what they wanted in LA, so they moved to Anaheim. They did the same dance with Anaheim, before moving east...
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Things may change when the reality of the team's egress gets closer—or if they get better before 2015—but for now, it almost seems like the locals are giving the Rams their marching orders. Whether the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, (which describes its mission as "selling St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination") is on board remains to be seen. Are the Rams still a selling point?
Edward Jones Dome Arbitration: Rams Plan Favored Over STLCVC [KSDK.com]