QUESTION: As Stan Kroenke and the Rams get set to go to work on needed upgrades at the Edward Jones Dome as part of the team’s lease with the Convention and Visitors Commission, it appears obvious there is no way the Dome can be upgraded to top-tier status in the NFL. Given Kroenke’s new interest in the Dodgers and his silence on the Dome issue, what does your gut tell you: Will the Rams remain in St. Louis for the foreseeable future or do you see the franchise relocating in a few years?
In the end it comes down to how committed Stan Kroenke is to this market, and I don’t have the answer to that.
Because there is, in fact, no realistic way that St. Louis can meet first-tier requirements, you might as well talk about building a new stadium for those kind of dollars. The other factor is how ready really is Los Angeles to build a new stadium for an NFL team?
First off, I’d rate Kroenke as an outsider on the Dodgers bid. When Frank McCourt sells the team, he’s going to want a deal that goes through quickly, and I don’t think he’s going to want a deal that could possibly be hung up by NFL owners. Unless Kroenke is prepared to make an over-the-top Pujols-type bid, any of the extremely wealthy other possible buyers will get the team.
As for what happens with the Rams, the realities are that the fine people of the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area aren’t springing for a new stadium. Fortunately for those people, neither are the fine people in the Greater San Diego area, so there’s a pretty good chance the Chargers jump first and take the matter off the table before Kroenke gets a chance. So what I see is another team moving to Los Angeles and while the league probably wouldn’t object to two teams there, being Team 2 isn’t as good as being Team 1. If by the time the Rams’ lease is up and no other team has moved to the City of Angels, I think the Rams will head back home. If someone beats them to it, I think we’ll see the Rams playing somewhere out in the Chesterfield area.
I worked in Houston when Bud Adams moved the Oilers to Tennessee. It got personal and nasty between the owner and the mayor, which certainly didn’t help matters. If that kind of tension can be avoided here – and last week’s terse, two-paragraph statement from the CVC on the London game wasn’t a step in that direction – at least the two sides should be able to have open and frank discussions. That may not be enough but perhaps we can take comfort in knowing a decision was made after a rational process. I hope the similarities between the Rams situation in St. Louis and the old Oilers in Houston can end with Jeff Fisher being the coach in both places at the time.
Stan is just being a good businessman, getting his ducks in a row and using his considerable leverage to get as much as he can from whomever. The city fathers already lost one NFL franchise. The damage to the city’s reputation if it lost a second would be devastating. They know that and will make it happen, as painful as some people will find it.
I look forward to sharing a luxury box view of Rams-Niners with El Hombre and the rest of Team Pujols in November 2016. The Sunday commute from Orange Co. to Chavez Ravine will be interesting, however.
My gut instinct is not working. I have no feel for this because I have no clue how these negotiations will go. We need to see what the first offer is that the CVC puts on the table before anyone can intelligently begin to see what the future holds.
As much as I’d like to think that Stan Kroenke and the Rams can get something worked out with the CVC, I’m skeptical. Above all else, Kroenke is a businessman and I’m afraid it’s going to take some hefty incentives to keep hm here.
Unless he gets what he wants – and who knows what that might be? – the Rams are history here.