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Rams Reject Stadium Plan, is Move to L.A. Coming? Fan’s Opinion
As a football-loving resident of Los Angeles, I'm paying close attention to the stadium drama affecting several NFL teams. With two stadium projects here in L.A. competing for a team, the outcome of some of these dramas may be the deciding factor in an NFL team moving here.
Although it will take a few years to build either of the two proposed L.A. stadium projects, I believe a team will be named soon, before the start of the 2012 season. That team will re-locate immediately and play, most likely, in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, while the new stadium is built. Only days ago, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce endorsed the idea of an NFL team playing in the Rose Bowl on a short-term basis.
My attention is once again drawn to the St. Louis Rams, a team that left Los Angeles due to stadium issues. Funny enough, that fancy stadium that lured the team out of L.A. in 1994, is now in need of renovation and improvements. The Rams have a lease agreement for their stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, that allow them to move after the 2014 season if the dome is not considered one of the top NFL stadiums.
The team recently rejected a renovation plan proposed by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) that would have prevented a move. The Rams are 18 years into a 30 year lease on the dome, but the lease requires the stadium be considered in the upper 25 percent of NFL stadiums based on specific criteria. If the team and the CVC cannot agree, the team has a right to break their lease after the 2014 season and leave the city.
The CVC, which runs the stadium, submitted a plan that called for $124 million in improvements to the facility. The plan included a massive new 96 foot x 27 foot suspended scoreboard, 1,500 new (higher revenue) club seats and club lounges. The plan would also include adding new windows to the facility to let in more light. The plan also had the Rams paying for 52 percent of those costs, which is probably why the team passed. The Rams will submit their own proposal by May 1. If the two sides can't agree by June 15, it goes into arbitration, which could last six months.
The price of the dome (at least the taxpayer's obligation) seems like a bargain today, it was paid for mainly with bonds, loans paid by the taypayers of the area. The bonds total $256 million, which is paid back with $24 million each year in tax money. Half comes from the state of Missouri, 25 percent from the city and 25 percent from the county.
The Rams pay the CVC a flat $500,000 per year fee, and get to keep the ticket sales, most of the ad money, concession money and even some concession money from non-football events at the dome. The lease includes the use of a practice facility, Rams Park, which is on county land.
I think the chances look pretty good the Rams may be moving back to Los Angeles. The team is owned by Stan Kroenke, a smart guy who is also in the final bidding to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. I would really like to see him move the Rams and then build an NFL stadium next to Dodger Stadium, where there is room, and previous Dodger owners have explored the idea.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
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