This week opened with news that Rams owner Stan Kroenke intends to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles, and before the week was out, the city of St. Louis announced today that it has plans of its own for a new stadium. As Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com details, St. Louis’ plan calls for the construction of a 64,000-seat, open-air stadium on the north St. Louis riverfront, about a half-mile from the Gateway Arch.
The proposed stadium, announced today by Governor Jay Nixon‘s team of former Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock and local attorney Bob Blitz, would be constructed by 2020 and would cost between $860MM and 985MM. Of that total, a little less than half ($400-450MM) would come from private financing – the NFL and team ownership – while the remaining $460-535MM would be provided by public sources, according to the proposal. The state and city already pay annual fees toward the debt on the Edward Jones Dome, so while those figures may look daunting, Peacock suggests the burden on Missouri taxpayers wouldn’t necessarily increase.
“The new stadium will impose no new tax burden on taxpayers in the local region and the state of Missouri,” Peacock said. “We are confident that the money is available in such a way that it will not add an incremental burden on our community and if anything the net result we’d incur on this investment is positive for the community.”
While the St. Louis team sounded optimistic about its plan, it’s worth noting that the Rams weren’t involved in the announcement. As Wagoner writes, the team issued a statement today saying it had seen the plans and will review them. So far, Kroenke hasn’t shown much willingness to engage with St. Louis leaders about how to keep the Rams in town. The team’s lease at the Edward Jones Dome can be changed to a year-to-year arrangement this offseason, and if the NFL gets on board with his Los Angeles plan, St. Louis’ proposal may not be enough to keep the franchise.
If the Rams do relocate, it’s possible that the St. Louis stadium plan could move forward at some point for another NFL franchise, particularly since the project’s leaders hope to land an MLS team for the new stadium as well. But considering what a long and complicated process relocation and/or expansion can be, keeping the Rams remains the city’s top priority for now. Once Kroenke and the Rams review the new proposal, we should get a clearer picture of what the owner’s intentions are.