A relocation application submitted to the NFL by the St. Louis Rams portrays their proposed new stadium in Inglewood, California as the team's best chance for long-term success, while painting a dismal portrait of St. Louis and the city's plans for a new stadium on its north riverfront.
A 29-page document obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times lays out the team’s rationale for why it should be able to leave St. Louis and how it believes such a move would ultimately strengthen the NFL.
The Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers all submitted applications to relocate to Los Angeles Monday.
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The Raiders and Chargers, whose current stadiums are the oldest in the NFL, have advanced plans for a shared stadium in Carson, California, roughly 10 miles from a 300-acre Inglewood site where Rams' owner Stan Kroenke plans to build the league's biggest stadium as the centerpiece of a much larger entertainment development.
It would be superior to the Carson proposal, the application document argued, with the ability to generate approximately $50 million more in revenue if it were to host a Super Bowl.
As for the $1.1 billion proposal put forth by a task force assembled by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, "No NFL club would be interested in the ... new St. Louis stadium," the Rams stated plainly.
The Rams have exceeded any good faith requirement to engage with St. Louis and the RSA under NFL relocation guidelines.
From the Rams’ 29-page relocation application
David Peacock and the task force submitted stadium plans to the league last week. The proposal includes a more than $400,000 commitment of public money, financed by the bonds that built the Edward Jones Dome in the early 1990s. The remainder of the cost of construction would belong to team owners and the league.
The team also would be responsible for maintenance and future improvements. The Rams further viewed sharing the St. Louis stadium with a Major League Soccer team as an added burden, one that would force additional competition for the market’s corporate sponsorship dollars.
"Putting the Rams’ contract rights under its current St. Louis Lease aside, even the most cursory analysis of the St. Louis financial proposal makes no economic sense for an NFL team," the application stated.
NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Houston Jan. 12-13 to decide which proposal is best for the league.
The Rams application document lays out a three-part argument outlining with fine detail the features of the proposed Inglewood stadium, why they have a contractual right to relocate, and why moving from St. Louis "will strengthen the league."
As reported by the Los Angles Times, the Rams envision the stadium forming the hub of NFL activity on the West Coast. That includes the stadium — which would be nearly three million square feet — hosting the combine and Pro Bowl. The neighboring performance venue could be home to the NFL draft, NFL Honors and other league-themed events such as NFL Films premieres, according to the Times.
It also returns the NFL to the league's second largest market, which has been without a team since the Rams moved East more than 20 years ago. It is further designed to serve as the home of two NFL teams, though Chargers' owner Dean Spanos and Raiders' owner Mark Davis have publicly rebuked Kroenke's offers to make them his tenants.
The Rams argument against St. Louis cites provisions in the original lease for the Edward Jones Dome that promised the team a "first tier NFL stadium" for 30 years. According to the Rams, the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which owns the Edward Jones Dome, hasn't delivered on those criteria for 12 years.
Furthermore, the team claims the RSA offered no acceptable proposals to improve the Dome that didn't involve a financial contribution from the team.
"The Rams have exceeded any good faith requirement to engage with St. Louis and the RSA under NFL relocation guidelines," the application reads.
Finally, the Rams conclude St. Louis can no longer support three professional sports franchises while both Oakland and San Diego have shown substantial economic growth.
A study commissioned by the NFL "concluded that San Diego and Oakland are significantly more attractive markets than St. Louis, which is projected to be 26th in growth among NFL markets moving forward. St. Louis is already the smallest market of the three in both population and gross domestic product ("GDP") before factoring in future growth," the Rams argued.