Stan Kroenke, Rams Rip St. Louis in Relocation Statement


Stan Kroenke cites attendance, low receipts among reasons for move.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has posted the 29-page statement that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke submitted to the NFL to request the team’s move to Los Angeles. In it, Kroenke and his team cite low attendance and the financial inability of St. Louis to support a third team as among the reasons for the move. The statement also calls the proposed riverfront stadium, and especially the conduct of the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), “a breach of the Rams’ lease”.

In section II.C, the statement claims that the RSA has been “in default” on their First Tier promise for more than 12 years, citing ratings of the Edward Jones Dome as the worst stadium in the NFL by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Kroenke also states the RSA, in arbitration, offered merely third-rate improvements, but only if the Rams bear the majority of the cost. The Rams’ lease, the statement claims, obligates the RSA to provide the Rams with a First Tier stadium through 2025 at their own cost, and that the condition of the Edward Jones Dome is a violation of that lease.

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The statement goes on to question the financial stability of the St. Louis market itself. In a league-commissioned study by Convention Sport and Leisure, the Rams rank 22nd in average season ticket price, 28th in average club seat price, yet have the fourth-lowest average attendance in the past five years. A separate study by Charles River Associates, also commissioned by the NFL, found St. Louis to be the least attractive market of the three teams vying to move to the City of Angels. The study claims that “St. Louis is projected to have relatively flat population growth and significantly lower GDP over the next 20 years” than either San Diego or Oakland.

The Rams also balk at the idea of sharing the space with a potential “professional soccer team” in St. Louis, claiming that the team would “compete with the Rams for corporate revenue opportunities.” Yet, on page four of the statement in Section I.B the Rams explicitly state that the Inglewood stadium could potentially host two NFL teams. To assuage concerns about hypocrisy, the Rams state that the three million square foot stadium would provide ample space for both home teams to operate freely, complete with identical locker rooms, offices, and owner suites. This seems odd coupled with the attempt to convince the owners that the Raiders and Chargers should stay, and that hosting a professional soccer team would siphon away “corporate revenue opportunities”.

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The Inglewood site is a sweet deal for the NFL as well, providing the league with 8.5 million square feet of office space and space for an entertainment district next to the stadium. The office space, the statement claims, would house the NFL Network, NFL Media and NFL Digital as opposed to their Culver City location. The statement also cites overwhelming support among fans for the Rams’ return; the statement claims that the Rams have more support for relocation than the Raiders and Chargers combined. NFL owners will meet in a week to discuss the possibilities of relocation. When they do, it seems quite possible that they will approve the Rams’ move to LA, and the St. Louis will have lost its second NFL team.