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NFL Merry-Go-Round: Relocation Roundelay

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I was in Columbia a while back and saw lots of rent/sale placards for The Kroenke Group. I got excited knowing that I could be in the same mid-sized town as a sports magnate. I searched high and low for a prospective child molester in a bad hairpiece, but the one I found had blond hair.

The mall there is very nice, by the way.

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I do believe (short of that Denver dream deal), Kroenke's intentions are to keep the team in St. Louis. And I don't just mean he's pandering. His roots are there, he did tons to bring the team there, I trust that's his main desire.

That may be so (though I was under the impression that he was from Columbia and kind of a recluse, not exactly a city father), but then again, Stan is now involved in the exciting and dynamic world of Losing All Your Money In English Soccer. Seriously, if you think our sports leagues are running on untenable economies so divorced from reality as to make your head spin like a motorized bowtie, check out Europe, where exorbitant amounts of money are frittered away with absolutely no care or foresight. That could affect his desire to stay in the NFL without the proverbial license to print.

He's personally from Columbia, but he still traces roots to St. Louis. He's not a city-father because you're right, he's reclusive. But he does care about the city and about the Rams remaining there--or that's the overwhelming impression he's given.

You don't amass the kind of wealth Kroenke has by "caring about your roots". Bottom line-stadium issues aside, LA is a better market than St. Louis. Yes the celebrities and locals may not be die hard passionate NFL fans, but neither are St. Louisans (at least in a financially meaningful way). And there are a heckuva lot more Los Angelinos than St. Louisans. If you throw in the stadium and lease issues, well, St. Louis is probably going to feel more wrathful about Pujols signing with the Yankees or Red Sox than over the Rams bailing.

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Pat Bowlen has some pretty serious early-onset Alzheimer's, if reports are to believed, so maybe sooner than you think if someone doesn't keep an eye on him.

I had not heard that. That is too bad if it is true. Bowlen has always been a class act.

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St. Louis isn't just going to build a new stadium for anybody in the next 5-10 years, probably. Not many municipalities will be. (I don't say that to defend STL in this instance, as that wouldn't be a good excuse if there's an available stadium in LA. I say it to illustrate the changing landscape in stadium building.)

If the Rams demand a new stadium (as they could by their lease) in 2015, they're gone. If they're willing to re-work the lease and give all parties time to figure out what to do with a new stadium (and I think this is most likely), they'll stay at least for a while.

I think what will ultimately happen is the above and then Kroenke will build a new stadium around 2020, but he'll be given lots and lots and lots of incentives in by the city.

I won't deny I'm taking the optimistic view, but I think a lot of people on the outside are making it to be much, much, much more likely that the Rams will move than it really is. They're one of a handful of reasonable candidates, but the odds are still pretty low.

I appreciate your position, and I'm rarely in favor of a city losing its team, but I just don't see it.

I get that he's a Missouri boy, but extreme wealth trumps most other factors. Rich people don't get or stay rich by spending money they don't have to, or by forgiving the money that other people are contractually obligated to spend on them.

In order for the Rams to stay remotely competitive, they need a massive stadium upgrade. Missouri voters saw to it that St. Louis couldn't afford to pay for it, the Rams sure as heck aren't going to pay for it, and I don't see him allowing the Rams to fall behind just out of a sense of civic duty. Local pride is a wonderful thing, but business is business. And forgiving the lease requirements is bad for business.

Then there's the black hole at Ashburton Grove that his wallet will have to fill. I believe he is indeed committed to Arsenal, and as a fan I'm grateful for that, but they'll need a boatload of cash. Pounds, even, making it worse.

And even though the Rams still have a couple seasons owed to Missouri, that's not exactly persuasive, considering that they owed at least as much to Anaheim before they pulled up stakes.

Finally, there's a factor that too often gets overlooked - the NFL itself. I'm not sure that the league would let Kroenke cut St. Louis any slack on the lease. To do so could set a bad precedent for other owners in their negotiations with cites. Besides, the NFL has played out the "We'll move to LA!" card almost as much as they can. Now it's finally in the NFL's interest to actually have a team there. Moving the Rams would have the added bonus of leaving St. Louis vacant, and right about the time we think the city might be ready to build a new barn, there will be teams needing the leverage.

Again, I appreciate your perspective, but that's an awful lot to balance out against "Yeah, but he's a Missouri guy.". I don't see how the Rams aren't the frontrunners to move to LA. Only the Chargers even come anywhere close, and their move wouldn't do a thing to preclude the Rams'.

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We're not talking about Kroenke holding up a fledgling market out of civic pride. We're just talking about him staying in a good market that he also has immense ties to. Anyways, there's not a whole lot more we can say about it, but I'd bet you anything that I'm right.

:P

But seriously.

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I think that's the point I've been trying to make, obviously without much success.

St. Louis is simply not "a good market" if the Rams have to play in a substandard stadium for the forseeable future, continuing to fall behind the revenue streams of other clubs. That's why Georgia put the out-clause into the lease, and she was obviously very much in favor of a team in St. Louis.

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We're not talking about Kroenke holding up a fledgling market out of civic pride. We're just talking about him staying in a good market that he also has immense ties to. Anyways, there's not a whole lot more we can say about it, but I'd bet you anything that I'm right.

:P

But seriously.

They were being blacked out locally within 3 years of a trip to the playoffs. That does not happen in "good" markets.

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I think that's the point I've been trying to make, obviously without much success.

St. Louis is simply not "a good market" if the Rams have to play in a substandard stadium, falling behind the revenue streams of other clubs.

1. It is. They simply need to win games. If they win games the stadium will sell out and they'll have plenty of corporate support and make plenty of money. The idea that the stadium has to be new to make money is completely false. They just need to be a competitive team again, and they're on their way.

2. If a new stadium did indeed produce boatloads of new revenue, then it would be a financially wise decision for Kroenke to pitch in and build it. You can all say businessman don't make money doing that, but in fact the trend is that they DO. Stadiums are becoming privately financed all over. I think it's shortsighted to rule that out.

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We're not talking about Kroenke holding up a fledgling market out of civic pride. We're just talking about him staying in a good market that he also has immense ties to. Anyways, there's not a whole lot more we can say about it, but I'd bet you anything that I'm right.

:P

But seriously.

They were being blacked out locally within 3 years of a trip to the playoffs. That does not happen in "good" markets.

Then there's not very many good markets in the NFL, because it happens all over.

I'm out of this discussion, though. Reminded of why I've avoided it for so long. We'll so who's right in a few years.

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We're not talking about Kroenke holding up a fledgling market out of civic pride. We're just talking about him staying in a good market that he also has immense ties to. Anyways, there's not a whole lot more we can say about it, but I'd bet you anything that I'm right.

:P

But seriously.

They were being blacked out locally within 3 years of a trip to the playoffs. That does not happen in "good" markets.

Then there's not very many good markets in the NFL, because it happens all over.

I'm out of this discussion, though. Reminded of why I've avoided it for so long. We'll so who's right in a few years.

It happens more post 2008, but this crap started well before the great recession.

And I lied, the first blackout was two years after their last trip to the playoffs. And 5 years after the last trip to the Super Bowl. Boy, we give into despair fast in St. Louis don't we?

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Come now, FANATIC. Don't leave. This isn't personal.

As bad as those blackouts are, they're only one part of the equation. And you're right, St. Louis would probably turn out if the product was better (although "full of fair-weather fans" isn't exactly the best defense of a market).

Fan support is one thing, corporate support another, and stadium issues are a third. I maintain that no city can truly be a "good market" in the context of this discussion if said market requires its team to leave millions of dollars on the table every year out of civic pride.

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St. Louis sold out pretty much every game for a :censored:ty Blues team, so I don't think they're incapable of doing the same for a :censored:ty Rams team. Sorry, not buying that defense. Up until this past year or two, the Browns sold out every game, and hell Carolina was at 98.4% capacity this season with that terrible team.

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I'm just as at fault for assuming two, but isn't it possible that L.A. just gets one team? It's amazing that they haven't had one for so long, but there's at least some evidence that it's as much of a "fair-weather" market as anywhere. Despite the corporate advantages, I'm thinking maybe they should just get one team. That seems to be a lock to work. But a whole generation has grown up without L.A. NFL football and seems content enough. I mean, there aren't any Sacramento Kings-like or Winnipeg Jets-like efforts to get a team back.

Anyway, I'd been thinking two teams would get to start at the same time on equal footing in Farmers Field, but now I'm thinking maybe one team would be enough to start for a market who hasn't been in the game for so long.

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Not bailing because I feel personally attacked, Goth, bailing because there's nothing more I can add, and the discussion gets me worked up. It's not worth it. Nobody's going to be right or wrong for a while, and I'd rather just wait than repeat the same things over and over again.

It's a discussion I can't win on the technical facts. My point of view relies on aspects that go beyond the obvious (aspects that are involved in most every decision everyone makes, however--nothing is done entirely on technicals--and are extremely plausible. But the common perspective here relies on the simple and obvious (not to mention the desire to see the Rams "go home," be it an admitted desire or not).

Nothing I can say will bring anything but rebuttals. I'm open to the advice that this discussion shouldn't get me worked up, but I can't very easily change that, so it's better to just work around it and back out.

For the record, however, the Blues have some of the cheapest tickets in all of professional sports, and the NFL is the NFL. The fact that the Blues were supported with a so-so season proves a couple things--St. Louis never stops caring about its teams, and it will monetarily support the teams that give and honest effort and are affordable--it doesn't prove that St. Louis Rams fans are fairweather but Blues aren't.

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The Blues also had some crap attendance numbers in the middle part of the decade, so I'm not sure about the unconditional support for them either.

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The Blues also had some crap attendance numbers in the middle part of the decade, so I'm not sure about the unconditional support for them either.

As I noted (and yes, clearly I can't just take my own advice), it requires an honest effort. The Blues crap attendance was immediately following the lockout after ownership ripped the team apart. As soon as Checketts/JD took over and gave a clear vision, fans came flooding back, despite a lack of real success.

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Except the Blues being for sale is more or less the natural state of being for that franchise. Which says a lot right there, especially when THE TEAM OWNS THE FLIPPIN' ARENA.

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I had not heard that. That is too bad if it is true. Bowlen has always been a class act.

Bowlen's health has become more well known in town as of late. He's hardly involved anymore, which is part of the timing with hiring Elway to take a large part in running the team. It's likely that someone else will be owning the Broncos before long.

I have a question about Kroenke's ownership situation. With him owning the Rams now, does him putting his Denver teams in his son's name satisfy the NFL's rules about owning sports teams in other NFL markets, or does it just buy him time before he's expected to sell them off? If he is still required to sell the Nuggets, Avalanche, and the others, that would be incentive for Kroenke to do the Bowlen and Kroenke trade teams-Bowlen sells to LA owners scenario.

That scenario seems fairly ridiculous, but it does seem to have some of the right contributing factors (depending on the answer to my question). Weirder things have happened.

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I had not heard that. That is too bad if it is true. Bowlen has always been a class act.

Bowlen's health has become more well known in town as of late. He's hardly involved anymore, which is part of the timing with hiring Elway to take a large part in running the team. It's likely that someone else will be owning the Broncos before long.

I have a question about Kroenke's ownership situation. With him owning the Rams now, does him putting his Denver teams in his son's name satisfy the NFL's rules about owning sports teams in other NFL markets, or does it just buy him time before he's expected to sell them off? If he is still required to sell the Nuggets, Avalanche, and the others, that would be incentive for Kroenke to do the Bowlen and Kroenke trade teams-Bowlen sells to LA owners scenario.

That scenario seems fairly ridiculous, but it does seem to have some of the right contributing factors (depending on the answer to my question). Weirder things have happened.

Kroenke was told to give up operational and financial control to his son by the end of 2010. He has done so, but also has until December 2014 (such a key date) to transfer the majority interest of the team to his son or another investor.

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I had not heard that. That is too bad if it is true. Bowlen has always been a class act.

Bowlen's health has become more well known in town as of late. He's hardly involved anymore, which is part of the timing with hiring Elway to take a large part in running the team. It's likely that someone else will be owning the Broncos before long.

I have a question about Kroenke's ownership situation. With him owning the Rams now, does him putting his Denver teams in his son's name satisfy the NFL's rules about owning sports teams in other NFL markets, or does it just buy him time before he's expected to sell them off? If he is still required to sell the Nuggets, Avalanche, and the others, that would be incentive for Kroenke to do the Bowlen and Kroenke trade teams-Bowlen sells to LA owners scenario.

That scenario seems fairly ridiculous, but it does seem to have some of the right contributing factors (depending on the answer to my question). Weirder things have happened.

Well, Carroll Rosenbloom and Robert Irsay traded teams back in 1972, so it's not as uncommon as you might think. Another thing to consider is if the NFL considers St. Louis a failed market, much like the NHL does Atlanta. I mean, if the Rams relocate back to Los Angeles under Kroenke or another owners' leadership, that both the Cardinals and Rams in less than 30 years that have failed in St. Louis. It's not exactly a good track-record, and most likely something the NFL will consider if another team decides to relocate to an under-served market. If St. Louis loses their football team I would imagine the NFL would consider other domestic or international locations as preferable destinations (San Antonio, Toronto, etc.)

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