The St. Louis Board of Alderman approved a modified plan for a new riverfront football stadium in the city this week, setting the issue up for another vote on Friday, as David Hunn and Nicholas Pistor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outline. The latest development moves the possibility of a new St. Louis stadium slightly forward, but there are still plenty of roadblocks to overcome.
The most notable new detail of the stadium proposal includes a commitment from the NFL for an extra $100MM toward the construction of the building. However, this $100MM, which Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal notes isn’t guaranteed yet, would come at a cost. Per the Post-Dispatch report, the St. Louis stadium task force would agree to rebate city ticket taxes back to the team in this scenario, which would cost about $3MM per year.
Some St. Louis decision-makers seem apprehensive about the last-minute changes to the proposal, expressing concern about adhering to the NFL’s schedule rather than taking more time to review the plan. Alderman Scott Ogilvie asked, “Were we elected to write checks to the NFL without understanding what we are doing?”
Even if the stadium proposal is ultimately approved by St. Louis officials, it still must receive approval from the NFL as well. However, it certainly seems as if the St. Louis stadium plan is much further along than the ones in San Diego or Oakland, which may make NFL owners increasingly motivated to make things work in St. Louis.
Texans owner Bob McNair – one of six owners on the league’s Los Angeles committee – spoke to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle about St. Louis, Los Angeles, and the teams vying to relocate to L.A., and offered up a few interesting nuggets. Here are some of the highlights from that conversation:
On the support the stadium plan is receiving in St. Louis and what that could mean for an NFL vote:
“One of the teams would not be able to move if we approve two. So they’d have to stay in their home market. And one of our concerns is what level of support are they receiving in their home market? And if they’re receiving a reasonable amount of support, my personal feeling and most owners’ is we don’t think people should move.
“St. Louis, they have come up with a proposal that is getting pretty close, in my opinion, to being an attractive proposal. And if they do come up with an attractive proposal, then in my view, my personal opinion, I don’t think the Rams will receive the approval to relocate. So that would mean then you’d have two teams, San Diego and Oakland, that would be going into Carson. They have a partnership to build a stadium.”
On the possibility of a new stadium getting built in San Diego or Oakland:
“In San Diego, they’ve been trying for about 15 years. They’ve had all kinds of political problems there. At one time, half the council went to jail or something. It’s been pretty bad. It’s hard to negotiate when you’ve got to go to the jail to negotiate. So they haven’t accomplished anything. They’re saying they’re going to do something now. But in order to do it, they’d have to have a referendum and the referendum isn’t until next June. Well, we can’t have these teams in limbo. You need to have certainty and you don’t know if the referendum would pass or fail. We can’t take what they’re saying very seriously.
“Oakland is basically saying, ‘We don’t have any money. We’re going to take care of the baseball team and we’re not going to do anything for the football team.’ So that’s where they are. And those are the two worst stadiums in the league.”
On the likelihood of a team – or two teams – relocating to L.A. for 2016:
“It’s the second-largest market in the country and certainly we should be there. On the other hand, we’ve done very well not being there. So it’s not the end of the world [if no team moves there].”