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Stadium task force refutes Rams' claims about rent, revenue

Rampage, the St. Louis Rams' mascot
(Photo: St. Louis Public Radio)
Rampage, the St. Louis Rams' mascot

The St. Louis NFL Stadium Task Force is firing back. In its response to the Rams’ application to move to Los Angeles, it bemoans the way owner Stan Kroenke besmirched the city’s reputation.

The task force noted that many details of the Rams' proposal were not available to it or to the public. But it did counter several points the team made.

Rent: The Rams say the new facility would cost it 20 times more than the team now pays. The Task Force said, “Current direct rent is $250,000 (not including certain revenue sharing items) – 20 times current rent would be $5 million. The current rent proposal is $1.5 million in year one and is less than the most recent deals for both the Falcons and Vikings.”

New revenue: The Rams say they get no new local revenue sources. The task force notes that the Rams "will control the building and be able to program it as they desire” -- potentially increasing team revenue, particularly with other uses.

Public sector: The task force says the public contribution will be $400 million, not $355 million.

The lease: Claims that St. Louis is in “default” on the lease are strongly disputed. The task force says the decision “not to implement the Edward Jones Dome improvements suggested in the arbitration award was not a default” but “was permitted under the Rams’ lease and gave the Rams the option to convert the term to year-to-year.”

The task force also used a variety of measures to defend St. Louis’ economic standing among its peers and its ability to support an NFL team:

Contrary to what the Rams’ statement of reasons implies, St. Louis is not an inadequate NFL market, but it generally ranks as an upper third quartile market in key demographic and corporate measures. St. Louis ranks 18th in population, 16th in the number of Fortune 500 companies, 14th in the number of Fortune 1000 companies, and 14th in the number of companies with over $50 million in sales. St Louis ranks 11th in terms of suites per the number of companies over $50 million in sales, 14th in population per stadium/arena seat, and 18th in high income households per club seat – all important ratios in assessing potential demand for a professional sports team.

As for how the Rams’ application to relocate portrayed St. Louis:

We were not prepared, however, for the cruel attack and false claims made by our local team owner, to his league peers, in an attempt to punish and embarrass St. Louis – a city whose residents and businesses have loyally supported the Rams for more than two decades. No matter the justification for relocation – and the falsehoods in the statement of reasons strongly suggest the Rams have no justification to vacate St. Louis – the style in which their point was made was unprecedented, personal, groundless and unbecoming of a steward representing what we feel is the greatest professional sports league in the world.

Despite all this, the task force says it can "and will" work with Kroenke in the future.

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.