The Board of Aldermen in St. Louis granted approval Friday for the city to fund up to $150MM on the construction of a new stadium worth $1.1 billion, Nicholas J.C. Pistor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
In response, the Gov. Jay Nixon-led St. Louis stadium task force issued a statement, saying, “We recognize that our proposal will require extensive review before it is considered for approval by the NFL. We are confident that it will be well received.”
The task force also called Friday’s vote a “significant milestone,” but Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL will have more say than the city in whether the proposed stadium is built. As was reported Thursday, the financing package for the new facility counts on $300MM from the league, whose policy is to spend a maximum of $200MM on stadiums. Commissioner Roger Goodell referred to funding a St. Louis stadium to the tune of $300MM as “fundamentally inconsistent with the NFL’s program of stadium financing.”
If the league isn’t a big enough hurdle for St. Louis to keep its team, the city also has to contend with Kroenke’s desire to relocate to Los Angeles. As Pistor notes, Kroenke hasn’t shown interest in staying in St. Louis and would have to agree to the proposed financing package to keep the franchise there.
Regarding Kroenke, Alderman Sharon Tyus quipped, “We’re like at the strip club…and the stripper is throwing the money back at us.”
One of Tyus’ colleagues, Alderman Antonio French, hopes the result of Friday’s vote shows a “good faith effort to hopefully sway a few votes to prevent Koenke” from moving the team. That might happen, according to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith, who writes that St. Louis’ proposal could be acceptable enough in the eyes of some owners to vote against a potential Kroenke plan to relocate the Rams. Kroenke needs 23 approval votes from his fellow owners to allow him to take his team elsewhere. That vote will take place in January.
Sam Farmer of the LA Times wrote Thursday that, of the three teams vying for LA relocation (the Raiders and Chargers being the others), St. Louis has done the most to keep its franchise. As Farmer points out, St. Louis has put a significant amount of public money on the table, and the league isn’t in the habit of turning down sizable funding from the public. Further, Kroenke isn’t particularly popular among the league’s owners, per Farmer, which could make it that much more difficult for his California dream to end up a reality.