NFL owners allow Rams to move to L.A.
Associated Industries of Missouri has supported stadium funding in St. Louis because the current stadium and NFL team generate more in tax revenue than the state would have been asked to invest.
“We are very disappointed in this decision,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Now, the state must find replacement revenue for the income tax revenue that was generated by the team, totaling more than $10 million per year.”
From the St. Louis Business Journal
Stan Kroenke got his way.
The National Football League’s owners on Tuesday in Houston voted to let the St. Louis Rams relocate to Los Angeles in a glitzy $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California. The San Diego Chargers will have an “option” to move to that facility.
The Raiders will also have an option to move to the Inglewood facility if the Chargers do not. The Raiders and Chargers will get $100 million from the NFL if they can build stadiums in their home markets.
Stan Kroenke, long silent, said at a press conference Tuesday night that the process took many years. He also called the move “bittersweet.”
“We understand the emotions involved with our fans,” Kroenke said. “It’s not easy to do these things. It’s purposefully made hard. We’ve made a decision and worked long and hard at various alternatives. When they didn’t succeed, we worked this one to this point.”
A St. Louis reporter asked Kroenke to address fans here.
Kroenke responded, “I’ve been open about this process. What has happened here has gone on since 2002. It’s not something that you want to do. It’s when you have a history of and a lease that was part of the reason that the team moved there. And the lease requires certain things. As an owner, and to be able to appeal to our fans, we have to have a first-class stadium product.”
It’s unclear when the Rams will officially move.
Tuesday’s vote is a major blow for local stadium proponents, who have been working for nearly two years to come up with a viable stadium plan to force the NFL to keep the Rams in St. Louis.
“Today’s decision by the NFL concludes a flawed process that ends with the unthinkable result of St. Louis losing the Rams,” the task force said in a statement Tuesday. “Over the past 15 months, our stadium task force has delivered in every respect to what the NFL demanded of St. Louis to keep our team. More important, over the past 21 seasons, most of them dire, St. Louis has been remarkably supportive of and faithful to the Rams. We will leave it to the NFL to explain how this could happen and hope the next city that may experience what St. Louis has endured will enjoy a happier and more appropriate outcome.”
That plan, for a $1.1 billion Mississippi riverfront stadium, has cost taxpayers more than $16 million to date through the St. Louis Regional Convention And Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which is funded by the city of St. Louis, St.Louis County and State of Missouri.
Once the Rams move, the RSA will be without lease revenue from the team. The RSA also would be left with options on properties in the proposed north riverfront stadium site, on the near north riverfront. Officials say they’ve yet to discuss what the state-created body would do with that land if no stadium is built.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement Tuesday that he would review the NFL’s decision before deciding what to do next.
“In particular, we are interested in their justification for departing so significantly from the NFL’s guidelines after St. Louis had – in record time – presented a proposal for a first-class stadium,” Nixon said.
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay both condemned the NFL’s decision in statements.
“The NFL ignored the facts, the loyalty of St. Louis fans, who supported the team through far more downs than ups, and the NFL ignored a strong market and viable plan for a new stadium,” Slay said. “I am proud of our effort and what St. Louis was able to accomplish in an extraordinarily short period of time. I thank everyone who worked so diligently on this project, especially the Governor’s Task Force.”
In a first round of voting, NFL owners failed to give the Inglewood project the required 24 votes. But then, officials with the Rams, Raiders and Chargers met with the six-member committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, and apparently struck a deal to keep the Raiders in Oakland.
Owners after 7:30 p.m. voted 30-2 to allow the Rams to move.
The L.A. committee earlier Tuesday recommended the Carson project, backed by the Raiders and Chargers, by a vote of 5 to 1, according to multiple reports.
The Los Angeles puzzle kicked off in January 2014, when Kroenke bought 60 acres in Inglewood, which eventually expanded to 238 acres. Kroenke initially said the site was in line for a Wal-Mart development. However, a year later, Kroenke introduced plans to build a multibillion-dollar NFL stadium. That led to a series of events, including the Chargers and Raiders proposing their own stadium, in Carson.
A few days after Kroenke unveiled his stadium plans, the St. Louis stadium task forced appointed by Nixon revealed the north St. Louis stadium.
Throughout the rest of 2015, the NFL and local stadium authorities met to put the region’s best proposal forward.
A key part of that was the RSA’s move to sue the city of St. Louis, which led a judge to invalidate an ordinance requiring that voters decide whether tax dollars can be used to build a stadium.