When the Rams and Raiders both left Southern California before the 1995 season, there were no lawsuits against either the teams or the NFL to my best memory. The general attitude in this area seemed to be: “meh, We are with you, we will be together without you. ,
Which we did, for 21 football seasons.
There’s no fury in Hell like a despised city? Maybe depends on the size of the city. Or you can take your case to the right judge.
In case you missed it, the Convention and Sports Complex Authority of the city and county and territory of St. Louis received a pre-Thanksgiving windfall this week, a few months before the NFL, Rams and owner Stan Kroenke were about to go all kinds. Trial before St. Louis Jury with League Likely to Reveal Dirty Laundry. (As if internal emails from the Washington football team didn’t do enough damage in 2021).
The city of Missouri is blessed with $790 million more, with trade due by Christmas Eve after Wednesday’s announcement of a settlement between the league, team and municipality. And while there may be a good amount of internal skirmishes over who is on the hook for that amount, the League and the Rams are undoubtedly relieved that no one will have to testify under oath.
Obviously, blackmail can be extremely lucrative.
To recap: The Rams moved back to LA – I like to think of it as rehab – in 2016 the league picked up Kroenke’s stadium project in Inglewood over a competitive offer from Chargers Dean Spanos in Carson, which eventually ended in 2017. moved to LA. And Kroenke’s tenant and Raiders wound up as Mark Davis, who took his team to Las Vegas.
Oakland filed a similar lawsuit over the Raiders’ departure but a federal judge dismissed it in the spring of 2020. San Diegans settled in possibly the finest city in America to dartboard Spanos’ scene, with the city’s dad probably realizing it wasn’t worth the trouble. To take the owner to court.
Louis’ lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleged that (a) the league did not follow its own transfer procedures and (b) treated those procedures as a contract between the league and its cities, not just guidelines. It didn’t appear to have more weight than Oakland behind it, but Missouri Circuit Judge Christopher McGraw allowed it to move forward. That’s when he felt compelled to order financial information from several NFL owners prior to the trial — in anticipation, some believed to award potential damages — that left some highly partisan.
Irwin Kishner, executive chairman of Herrick’s New York law firm, Feinstein LLP and an expert in sports law, was quoted by The Athletic as saying that it is “a very one-sided judiciary, the way they are coming down on that decision.” That said, when you’re dealing with local court systems, and you have a favorite child or favorite son-type inclination – that’s what’s happening here, in my opinion – it (settlement) can make sense for that reason. Is.
This is another definition of home-court benefit.
And remember, St. Louis opened the door to this move. The domed stadium that lured the team from Anaheim to the Georgia Frontier in late 1995—after years of product neglect, might we add—costed $280 million to build. The clause in the original lease specified that the facility would be maintained and upgraded as necessary to remain in the “first tier” of NFL stadiums, originally the top eight.
By October, 2009, when your correspondent showed up for a Rams-Vikings game in the dome, it was clear that the facility was out not only from level one but also from level two. I wrote at the time that it was “serviceable but aging” and added, “With the number of new features that have come online in recent years (19 in 14 seasons since the dome opened), this place probably isn’t anyone.” Top eight in measure too.”
The Convention and Visitors Commission, which commissioned the dome, proposed a $124 million upgrade in 2012, and sweetened it up a bit, but not by much when Ram proposed $700 million in improvements and enhancements. An arbitration panel, asked to choose between the two plans and resolve the dispute, selected the Rams’ proposal in July 2013, but the CVC rejected it and St. Louis Public Radio called the organization’s president, Kitty Ratcliffe. “Spending nearly $900 million to have only 10 football games was not deemed by anyone very prudent.”
This spurred the second part of the lease, which was to run until 2025, but after the 2014 season the Rams were allowed to switch to year-to-year renewals if that “first tier” specification was not met. And if people in St. Louis complain that Kroenke was walking around a Hollywood Park property in 2013 before purchasing a 60-acre parcel in January 2014… well, wouldn’t you be under the circumstances?
Bottom line: St. Louis had the opportunity to upgrade its dome and keep the rams. It didn’t. And by the time the city came up with a last-ditch proposal for a new $1.1 billion stadium on the riverfront in December 2015, with the city and Missouri State paying for half and the Rams and NFL for the other half, Kroenke was already in January 2016. In the U.S. his LA plan was up for the owners’ vote.
Bottom Line II: Remember the old joke about the horse being designed by the committee about the camel? The Riverfront Stadium, managed by the Municipal Corporation, might have turned into this. Kroenke clearly preferred being able to control the process if he was going to take the risk — and counting for the more than $5 billion and massive Inglewood project, that’s some risk.
Bottom Line III: If the Guy Reinstates Freeloaders, Can You Blame Him? It is apparently still being negotiated as to how much of the deal will come out of Ram’s pocket, and there has reportedly been an enthusiastic debate over whether Kroenke will compensate his league partners, given that the league has Other people may face greater danger or at least face embarrassment. Whatever has come out in open court. (It has been suggested that some of the ammunition of the plaintiffs came from other owners. Draw your own conclusions.)
There was much wishful thinking in St. Louis as the test came to a close that, somehow, the process could get the city a replacement NFL team. But that ship seems to have sailed, and locals would be better off worrying about how wisely the $790 million was spent.
Blackmail has its limits.
@Jim_Alexander on Twitter