By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
July 12, 2013
The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission has rejected the Rams’ proposal for a $700 million renovation to the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams’ lease obligates the team to play two more seasons at the Dome, but if Edward Jones Dome isn’t a “top-tier” NFL stadium by 2014, the team can remain there on a year-to-year basis. While the CVC would prefer a more modest renovation, an arbitration panel earlier this year ruled that the only way to make the Dome "top-tier" is the Rams’ $700 million plan. That decision was based on the testimony of Mark Williams, principal for HKS Sports & Entertainment, who extensively researched all other NFL buildings to compare to Edward Jones Dome. A renowned architecture firm, HKS previously designed stadiums for the Cowboys and Colts, and is responsible for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
Despite the arbitration ruling, the team and CVC remain hundreds of millions of dollars apart in finalizing a deal. However, given that there isn’t a viable L.A. stadium plan after the apparent demise of Farmers Field, the Rams lack substantive relocation leverage. Bottom line: it’s likely a deal is reached to keep the Rams in St. Louis, though it might not come to fruition for a while.