Missouri will keep paying for St. Louis Rams’ stadium until 2022

posted at 7:01 pm on January 23, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

If you follow the comings and goings of the NFL even remotely closely you probably heard the news that the Rams will be leaving St. Louis and going back home to Los Angeles. Such a decision always leaves one group of fans happy and another wringing their hands, but there’s a larger group of folks who have reason to be grousing this year: all the taxpayers of Missouri. The football team may be leaving, but the bills coming due for the stadium which the taxpayers generously bought for them remain like an unpleasant ghost of seasons past. (Inside Sources)

St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers paid the full $280 million cost of construction for the Edward Jones Dome in 1995. In an effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis, government officials tried to persuade the team to stay with the promise of $500 million for a new billion-dollar stadium. Rams owner, and billionaire, Stan Kroenke decided to move despite the generous taxpayer gift. The problem is that Missouri taxpayers aren’t off the hook because they will be paying $12 million until 2022 on the Edward Jones Dome.

In addition, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, “An effort to persuade the owner of the St. Louis Rams to keep his team in Missouri by building a new riverfront football stadium not only failed, but also left the public on the hook for $16.2 million in expenses.” The article also noted that, “Architecture firm HOK made more than $10.5 million for its work on the stadium plan, while the Dome authority’s attorneys, Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, billed almost $900,000. Thompson Coburn bond and financing lawyers charged an additional $760,000.”

The linked article reports that the beleaguered citizens of Missouri are not alone in this type of mess. All but two of the currently active NFL stadiums were subsidized by taxpayers at one level or another. (The exceptions are the Jets / Giants Met Life stadium in New Jersey and the Miami Dolphins’ facility.) But in this case the cut is particularly deep. St. Louis was bending over backwards for the Rams, not only building their old stadium but pushing hard to raise the cash to build them a new one. But in the end the team decided to return to their roots.

That means $12M every year until 2022 for a team which will be long gone. It’s an unpleasant reminder of how these big government investments in NFL stadiums rarely pay off for the folks footing the bills. One study after another has shown that it’s rare for a team to move to a new town and deliver anywhere near what they always promise in terms of new jobs, people moving to the area or other benefits which supposedly trickle down and make the huge investments worthwhile. It’s not as if NFL owners and the league itself are hurting for cash. One would think they might be able to put up their own stadium, but that rarely seems to be the case anymore.

It’s a sad day for St. Louis, but hopefully the Rams will find some crowds in L.A. That’s not a given, though, because the city seems in some ways to have moved on from professional football as a hometown activity. I’d love to be proven wrong, but it’s going to be something of an embarrassment if that new California stadium winds up being 3/4 empty for half their games. Just ask the Washington Nationals.

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Comments

Make that Missouri taxpayers who will keep paying for the Rams’ stadium until 2022.

Now what are the Ferguson Obama voters going to watch on their recently looted flat screen TVs?

viking01 on January 23, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Anymore it’s hard to feel sorry for a city that hosts a pro football team. They invariably get stuck like this. Let the owners or the league finance it. St Louis is a great sports town and deserves better.

butch on January 23, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Did see “taxpayers” mentioned the six time further on… not including the tags.

viking01 on January 23, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Reason #378 why it’s never a good idea to live in any large city.

celt on January 23, 2016 at 7:11 PM

As a St. Louisan, there are some incorrect assumptions being made. The dome was built as a convention center where the Rams happened to also play. The CVC has always made it know that they lose money during the fall because they were unable to book conventions during football season because they were under contract to block out all the dates due to unknown scheduling (remember, this happens years in advance, not for just that season).

The CVC will have no problem continuing to pay the note on the convention center and will put more revenue into the city than the Rams were providing. Yes, it sounds like St. Louis will have this empty building sitting there doing nothing, but that could not be further from the truth.

Mo_mac on January 23, 2016 at 7:18 PM

But wadn’t it great dat dose Rams players walked out doin’ da “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” deal? I mean, like, dey’re totally down wif da community, amiright?

http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_48/787026/pc-141130-rams-hands-up-jsw-01_e7486b9cc4ee89891c326ba9f65a45b4.jpg

They’ll send you Tweets from LA.

BuckeyeSam on January 23, 2016 at 7:20 PM

But in the end the team decided to return to their roots.

That would mean a move back to Cleveland, fat chance.

At least St. Lo got a superr bowl title out of the deal.

banzaibob on January 23, 2016 at 7:22 PM

That’s not a given, though, because the city seems in some ways to have moved on from professional football as a hometown activity.

What about UCLA and USC?

rbj on January 23, 2016 at 7:23 PM

NFL teams = Trump.
They sell loyalty for an extreme price and the politicians suck it up and beg for more.

Constitutionalist on January 23, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Missouri will keep paying for Ferguson forever.

HiJack on January 23, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Just ask the Washington Nationals.

But I thought Charles Krauthammer and George Will are at all the games.

BuckeyeSam on January 23, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Mo_mac on January 23, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Thanks, Mo_mac, for putting it into perspective.

HiJack on January 23, 2016 at 7:30 PM

The league doesn’t want owners to front any money for the stadiums because of the precedence that it would set…

I love football, but this really pissed me off. There was nothing wrong with that stadium. Twenty year old buildings don’t get torn down. I think this will be one of the things that kills football. I mean if you build a stadium for a team and they still leave that to me is unacceptable.

publius75 on January 23, 2016 at 7:33 PM

That’s not a given, though, because the city seems in some ways to have moved on from professional football as a hometown activity.

What about UCLA and USC?

rbj on January 23, 2016 at 7:23 PM

One key word there…..

SDN on January 23, 2016 at 7:36 PM

One key word there…..

SDN on January 23, 2016 at 7:36 PM

Reggie Bush got stripped of his Heisman for getting paid. Don’t assume that practice doesn’t still go on.

rbj on January 23, 2016 at 7:39 PM

Pontiac Michigan says “MEH”

animal02 on January 23, 2016 at 7:40 PM

Been a long day. Don’t even want to go into it again. But for some reason this story reached out to me on the taxpayer angle.

Jazz Shaw on January 23, 2016 at 7:43 PM

Sucks to be them. Glad we don’t have a single pro team anywhere in Kentucky. I say let Cincinnati pay for them…

Johnnyreb on January 23, 2016 at 7:44 PM

The only way these cities should agree to fund stadiums is if the get partial ownership with veto rights on relocation

animal02 on January 23, 2016 at 7:48 PM

Reason #378 why it’s never a good idea to live in any large city.

St. Louis? Define “large city.”

fegerter on January 23, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Jazz, the Nationals have had good attendance the last 3 years.

The Miami Marlins would be more apropos.
Newer ballpark too.

22044 on January 23, 2016 at 8:07 PM

St. Louis? Define “large city.”

fegerter on January 23, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Anywhere with more than 5 dims

rik on January 23, 2016 at 8:08 PM

My prediction is that the Rams will already be gone from LA by 2022. Los Angeles is simply not a football city and none of these efforts to make them into one have turned out well.

So Saint Louis ends up with a mostly empty stadium and it isn’t like you can turn it into something else- like a large stable for the Anheuser-Bush Clydesdales. Maybe professional soccer will grow in popularity or something.

Happy Nomad on January 23, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Aren’t the rams the nebbishes that did the “hands up” crap?

rik on January 23, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Back when the Saints started winning more games than losses Tom Benson used to threaten to move the team to shake down a better deal on the Superdome contracts.

When New Orleanians still called them the Ain’ts those negotiations tended to screw the city less.

With Miss Piggy Landrieu’s brother as NOLA mayor you can be sure the fine family tradition of hustle continues.

viking01 on January 23, 2016 at 8:12 PM

Well they could always sell Busch Stadium to the Belgians….


/

viking01 on January 23, 2016 at 8:14 PM

And this my friends, is why the Packers are awesome! Community-owned team. Everyone in the family has stock from a few years back when they were raising funds to renovate/refurbish Lambeau Field.

smokeyblonde on January 23, 2016 at 8:19 PM

Dummies sign contracts every day. Welcome to the list, St Lou.

Limerick on January 23, 2016 at 8:32 PM

Maybe St. Louis can lure the Cardinals back from Arizona?

JayVee on January 23, 2016 at 8:39 PM

I mean the inner city black attacks on St. Louis white fans have nothing to do with them leaving.

jukin3 on January 23, 2016 at 8:48 PM

I’ve never understood why professional sports teams are quasi-governmental entities. They get properties condemned for their stadiums, they get subsidies from governments to build those stadiums, and then, like a cow pursuing the greener grass, they move over to the far side of the hill.

Here in LA, it begins, just as it ends in St. Louis.

unclesmrgol on January 23, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Reason #378 why it’s never a good idea to live in any large city.

St. Louis? Define “large city.”

fegerter on January 23, 2016 at 7:52 PM

“UP” here, if you open the phone book and there are more than two Juntinens or three Usomakis it’s large.

Yoop on January 23, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Pontiac Michigan says “MEH”

animal02 on January 23, 2016 at 7:40 PM

…well it was good for Monster Truck Shows for a few years. They were able to patch the parking lots once in a while…with the proceeds.

JugEarsButtHurt on January 23, 2016 at 8:50 PM

St. Louis was bending over backwards for the Rams

I don’t think it works like that. Pretty sure they had to lean forward to get what they got.

Arnold Yabenson on January 23, 2016 at 8:52 PM

and dare to post an obscure game from the 1974 season online and you will get a nasty letter from their lawyers.

Cheap bâtards.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 23, 2016 at 8:54 PM

What about UCLA and USC?

rbj on January 23, 2016 at 7:23 PM

I thought college teams were professional?
They have at least one union, don’t they? As of last year, IIRC.

ReggieA on January 23, 2016 at 8:54 PM

And you know what? Don’t be dragging the Bruins into the SUC shitstorm.

Arnold Yabenson on January 23, 2016 at 8:58 PM

Lol!! Liberalism in its true form. We are still paying for the RCA dome here in Indy. And it was torn down 7 years ago. Like i said, liberalism in action……make the next generation pay for it. Suckers…….

Indiana Jim on January 23, 2016 at 9:06 PM

The CVC will have no problem continuing to pay the note on the convention center and will put more revenue into the city than the Rams were providing. Yes, it sounds like St. Louis will have this empty building sitting there doing nothing, but that could not be further from the truth.

Mo_mac on January 23, 2016 at 7:18 PM

You talk a good game, but do you have anything honest to back that up? I don’t mean the cooked numbers the politicians put out. How about an audit from a company that at least understands the word “independent”?

Reminds me of Rich Stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Erie county is STILL paying that off with a 1% sales tax to this day and the Bills are whining for a new stadium.

tphillip on January 23, 2016 at 9:30 PM

I am a life long Rams fan and I am going to claim some level of (relative) expertise on this matter. First of all, that $500 million is BS. They used every accounting trick in the book to make something like $150 million seem like $250 million. Then they took revenue that the owners usually consider theirs towards stadium cost (i.e. naming rights) and called it their contribution. Then they got one owner to say the league would contribute an extra $100 million, which Goodell said was not true, and voila, $500 million.

Not to mention they were thinking in early 2000 terms in regard to stadium design, and a price tag about $500 million less than they needed to even be remotely taken seriously.

They bent over backward and forward to entice the Rams to leave LA, and this is what they are stuck with. It is a middling midwestern town that was nationally relevant many generations ago, and they never should have pretended to compete with true global cities, let alone national ones.

truecon on January 23, 2016 at 9:46 PM

Stan Kroenke is going to spend $2 billion of his own money to build a new stadium complex in LA. I don’t think he or anybody else is worried about the hurt feelings of the people in St. Louis.

He already sold more than 50,000 commitments for seats. In fact the website crashed all day when it opened, and each fan has to deposit $100 each. LA loves the Rams.

Chudi on January 23, 2016 at 10:14 PM

Besides The Jets and Dolphins houses, I think one would find the Patriots (Gillette Stadium) have a privately funded fun house.

It is shared with the Kraft owned soccer team the Revolution and a shopping center called Patriot place. Mr. Kraft knows how to turn a buck perhaps better than The Donald.

FOWG1 on January 23, 2016 at 10:31 PM

You f**ked up… you trusted us!

Mason on January 23, 2016 at 10:51 PM

Missouri will keep paying for St. Louis Rams’ stadium until 2022

Politicians making deals with other people’s money never ends well.

RJL on January 24, 2016 at 12:35 AM

@Arnold Yabenson above:

..yeah, the Bruins have a sh*tstorm of their own. They just got rid of the Mazzne’s [no “O”] to aTm and need to run Donut Dan and Jim “Nutless” Mora out of town.

The War Planner on January 24, 2016 at 5:58 AM

Missouri will keep paying for Ferguson forever.

HiJack on January 23, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Yep.

Just like Detriot keeps paying for, well, the riots of the late 60’s.

The Rams were wise to leave St. Louis. Eventually it will get untenable for the Cardinals to remain.

ConstantineXI on January 24, 2016 at 8:33 AM

Pro sports is as bad as Hollywood if not worse. Kids are encouraged to see these people as heros. And you’re not a rugged man unless you go crazy over some sports team. You know, meet up with your buds,throw back a few cold ones in your remodeled basement.

Living in the matrix is more like it. It’s the ultimate distraction for men today. If you’re more in tune with your local pigskin team than you are with your government, you’re part of the problem.

Pro sports teams are so overvalued, and college teams are worse. Probably sound pretentious, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks this. Go into work and talk about the election instead of the score, and see what happens. Matrix I tell you.

LaughterJones on January 24, 2016 at 9:05 AM

They should have had Trump make the deal for them and insist the RAMs stay in St. Louis until the stadium was paid for. Too bad the city of St. Louis (as opposed to the state) didn’t fund it with their tax dollars. With its current tax base, they’d be bankrupt pretty soon.

iamsaved on January 24, 2016 at 9:25 AM

If football is anything it is a television show. This is where all the real money comes in to pay the actors on the field. Cities see fans pay to be extras in the television show, yep people pay the shows producers for the privilege of being televised preforming in the stands. Cities build the sets for these producers, using taxpayer money for only one reason. Cities want to tax the paying extras even more, so they can fulfill their true calling … transferring the wealth they collect to their employees. States need to step in and make it illegal for cities to get involved with paying for these television sets.

This is no different than paying Hollywood to come to town and make a movie, thinking you are producing jobs.

Mark was here on January 24, 2016 at 9:54 AM

WE, the people will be paying for Obama’s waste fraud, corruption, cheating and lying until at least 3023.

St. Louis has it easy!

when will Asians and Indians be allowed to play Black Football?

Obamatrix on January 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Reason #378 why it’s never a good idea to live in any large city.

celt on January 23, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Large cities are obsolete:

Lousy zoning..
No parking..
Bad schools..
Expensive, dysfunctional, and undesirable housing..
Second-rate (or worse) public services..
Major utility problems (water/power/communications)..
High crime rates…
Unresponsive and incompetent government..

etc..etc..

landlines on January 24, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Remember, Kroenke was not the decision making owner when the Rams moved, Georgia was, along with her kids. Kroenke was a silent partner. Frontiere did everything she could to make the LA Rams a terrible team that no one would watch. If she was an owner today, she would not be allowed to do the same kind of crap she pulled in LA without being approached by several other owners and probably offered the same terms she gave her departed husband Carroll Rosenbloom.

Los Angeles is a fickle market, they will not pay exorbitant sums to watch crap. (Or not for very long, anyway.) If Stan doesn’t try to field a team that is competitive, and the LA market stays away in droves, he will be “encouraged” to sell the team not move it to a second tier city.

MunDane68 on January 24, 2016 at 12:20 PM