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NFL Merry-Go-Round: Relocation Roundelay


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New stories today from St. Louis regarding the Rams' lease:

'First tier' is far from clear in Dome lease

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/football/professional/first-tier-is-far-from-clear-in-dome-lease/article_ce4f8963-370f-52a9-8719-47f91c809678.html

Excerpt: "The lease includes enough broad language that negotiators could argue just about every inch of the Dome is subject to the standard."

And some Dome history from a few days ago in here:

Editorial: Are you ready for some football (strife)?

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-are-you-ready-for-some-football-strife/article_221ac485-9fc4-5565-82b5-65662d8e16ba.html

Excerpt: "Jerry Clinton died last week, a couple of days after another new guy signed a contract to coach the Rams, the team that moved into the stadium that Mr. Clinton conceived for the NFL expansion team he never got. That 17-year-old, $260-million stadium on which the public still owes approximately $152 million in 10 days may become officially inadequate, a consideration that Rams owner Stan Kroenke indicated last week he is not willing to ignore."

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Editorial: Are you ready for some football (strife)?

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-are-you-ready-for-some-football-strife/article_221ac485-9fc4-5565-82b5-65662d8e16ba.html

Excerpt: "Jerry Clinton died last week, a couple of days after another new guy signed a contract to coach the Rams, the team that moved into the stadium that Mr. Clinton conceived for the NFL expansion team he never got. That 17-year-old, $260-million stadium on which the public still owes approximately $152 million in 10 days may become officially inadequate, a consideration that Rams owner Stan Kroenke indicated last week he is not willing to ignore."

It looks like they have a bad link in there - the linked story that's supposed to support his bolded statement actually does just the opposite, talking about how Kroenke hasn't sufficiently indicated a desire to stay in St. Louis:

The franchise almost certainly will be free to leave after the 2014 season, and Kroenke hasn't offered assurances to St. Louis or Rams fans.

The article on the lease is interesting. St. Louis got suckered.

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Editorial: Are you ready for some football (strife)?

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-are-you-ready-for-some-football-strife/article_221ac485-9fc4-5565-82b5-65662d8e16ba.html

Excerpt: "Jerry Clinton died last week, a couple of days after another new guy signed a contract to coach the Rams, the team that moved into the stadium that Mr. Clinton conceived for the NFL expansion team he never got. That 17-year-old, $260-million stadium on which the public still owes approximately $152 million in 10 days may become officially inadequate, a consideration that Rams owner Stan Kroenke indicated last week he is not willing to ignore."

It looks like they have a bad link in there - the linked story that's supposed to support his bolded statement actually does just the opposite, talking about how Kroenke hasn't sufficiently indicated a desire to stay in St. Louis:

The franchise almost certainly will be free to leave after the 2014 season, and Kroenke hasn't offered assurances to St. Louis or Rams fans.

The article on the lease is interesting. St. Louis got suckered.

Not sure why you'd say that. If it becomes officially inadequate in 10 days and Kroenke has indicated that he's not willing to ignore that fact, wouldn't that by definition mean he's not showing a desire to stay in St. Louis?

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The article is claiming that he has indicated he won't ignore the existing public debt.

But then when you follow the link contained within that very sentence, not only does the linked article not say that he's made any such indication, but it says he hasn't offered any assurances at all, not even the kind of assurances he made to Arsenal fans when he took over that club.

There's a disconnect there between what one writer says Kroenke said and what another writer said he said.

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Now that would make sense.

Interesting that they brought Arsenal into it - I've spoken with my gooner friends in the UK, and they agreed that Kroenke made significant outreach to reassure the fanbase, something he has reportedly failed to do in St. Louis.

Not like we can draw too fine an analogy between the two, but it is interesting.

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Now that would make sense.

Interesting that they brought Arsenal into it - I've spoken with my gooner friends in the UK, and they agreed that Kroenke made significant outreach to reassure the fanbase, something he has reportedly failed to do in St. Louis.

Not like we can draw too fine an analogy between the two, but it is interesting.

I wouldn't draw that analogy, yet. Kroenke is a week away from the negotiating process. And he took control of the team just over a year ago (I think). So that process has always been pretty close. As much as I want him to reach out, it doesn't really make sense to lose his leverage.

I don't think there was a comparable situation in London with Arsenal. He just had to convince the fans he was actually committed to upholding the level of excellence they expect.

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Well, if you look north to Minnesota and how they handled it, there was the perception here and in general that the Vikings were not going anywhere. As a result, perhaps, they are looking at getting their 3rd choice out of the 3 options.

Maybe Kroenke's being vague to keep his leverage, but it seems he could reach out a touch more without losing it. The London agreement and the Dodgers bid seem to have stirred up plenty of paranoia in St. Louis.

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I'm pretty sure I've seen the Minnesota governor endorse three different stadium sites over the past few months. Not sure they've all been documented in this thread. I guess that tells me his mind could change again and the Vikings' preferred option in Arden Hills could be in play again. It does sound like the Minneapolis site near the church that was the previous fave is now out due to the church's concern.

The Vikings have no lease for 2012 but have yet to threaten to leave (that I'm aware of ) so I'm not sure they have much leverage ... yet. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming days. They've been committed to Minnesota throughout publicly, let's see if that changes now that they've been limited to their 3rd of 3 choices.

The overall tone of this thread is that the Vikings are very close to a deal. That's just not true.

You are correct about the church's site. That's dead. The Vikings want Arden Hills for the "Gameday Experience" (translation: parking revenue), but that requires a bunch of very costly highway improvements. I think most of the political powers prefer the Metrodome site. However, that would mean 3 years of playing at the U of M stadium, which apparently is not possible without putting a bunch of money into un-needed campus parking just to satisfy the NFL's criteria for 24 games.

Add to it that the cost is WAY more than the Twins ballpark and the financial times are WAY worse than they were when the Twins deal was done...this area is generally weary of public financing (Of course stadiums get built and nobody has a recollection of anyone losing an elected seat over it). There are all sorts of undecided things right now involving funding (which would come through some gambling, which is drawing ire from the tribes). I am not saying it's not going to get done, but it's got a ways to go.

I am a Vikings fan, but I think the best thing is probably to say to the team and league: "You can have the Metrodome. You can play there or you can tear it down and build something else. They can play at TCF Bank Stadium while building, but we will not ruin our campus with additional parking spaces; be less rigid on this requirement since it's a temporary situation. We will not pour 9 figures into highway improvements for the Arden Hills site. If you don't think this is adequate then move."

I don't want the Vikings to leave, but I am sick of their greed and their feelings of entitlement. I know this is how it works nowadays, and I accept it. If we let 'em go, I'll be strangely proud of that, though it will be a sad day as well. They are not playing the "we'll move" card too hard now, but they obviously will. We'll survive without the NFL...without these 8 games per year. This is Minnesota, most of us will just forgive and become Packer fans (hell 20% of us are).

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this area is generally weary of public financing (Of course stadiums get built and nobody has a recollection of anyone losing an elected seat over it).

I can... Wisconsin State Senator George Petak. He cast the deciding vote for Miller Park's public financing, and was recalled by his district over it.

But your point is well taken, it's very rare.

And I think you're right - the Vikings are in the end going to have to settle for a couple years of playing at the University of Minnesota and then take the downtown site. Parking be damned.

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this area is generally weary of public financing (Of course stadiums get built and nobody has a recollection of anyone losing an elected seat over it).

I can... Wisconsin State Senator George Petak. He cast the deciding vote for Miller Park's public financing, and was recalled by his district over it.

But your point is well taken, it's very rare.

And I think you're right - the Vikings are in the end going to have to settle for a couple years of playing at the University of Minnesota and then take the downtown site. Parking be damned.

Actually, I meant losing a seat in Minnesota (over the Dome, Target Field, etc...). People talk tough about it then forget it.

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True, that was about retaining a fanbase rather tfan building one. That's why I said the two weren't analogous, bit it is interesting.

Building one? That kinda feels like a cheap shot as well as an incorrect statement, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.

This isn't about a fan base at all, this is about a stadium issue.

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Wasn't intended as a shot, merely a statement of fact when a team has to buy up its own tickets to avoid blackouts, there's a fanbase problem.

That fanbase problem will complicate the stadium issue. Do you think there's anywhere near the political will to get a new Rams stadium built that there would be if the Cardinals still needed a new park? The city would be forced to get that deal done, but I don't get a sense that the voters would so punish St. Louis politicians if the Rams left town.

Now, I don't mean to lay it all on the fans - I've read that Frontiere had little to no outreach outside of the city itself - but you can't deny that Kroenke has a lot of work to do to get people into his building, setting aside what building that may be.

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Nope.

All Kroenke has to do is have a team that wins a little more than 15 games out of every 80.

Once again, I'm curious how many markets you think wouldn't have a little trouble buying up the tickets on their own with football that bad? The ones that would are comparable to what you brought up with the Cardinals. But the Cardinals fan base is in the very upper echelon of baseball, just as only the very upper echelon fan base's of football would anywhere near easily sellout games to such a bad product.

If they intend to stay in St. Louis, the Rams would be wise to try and grow their fan base, if only because I think there's room to do so with a wider outreach. But the size of the fan base is not the problem.

You'd be better to turn your fan base concerns to teams like the Bengals, Bills, and Chargers, all who have been around a long time and were or appeared to be playoff contenders at points (with the Bengals actually getting in). Or the Bucs, who were pretty bad, but have blacked out 13 out of 15 (the 16th, was in London) games the past two seasons. And those teams either didn't come close enough or didn't have the corporate (or team) support around to buy the rest up.

15-65! Why anyone would even bother to dry and draw conclusions about a fan base treated to that performance is baffling. I don't need anyone to give the St. Louis fan base props, but I think it ought to be admitted that that's a pretty lousy situation to be judged on.

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Maybe it is. But that remains the reality.

We can judge all those fanbases on the same merits. I often do, on this thread and others. For what it's worth, I think there are franchises in far worse straits and far worse markets (Jacksonville, I'm looking at you). But they're not the subject at hand. St. Louis is.

Under the terms of the lease, St. Louis has to pony up a whole lot of money and very soon. Hundreds of millions it doesn't have to spend. I'm wondering what the political fallout would be if the city fathers said "no" and let the Rams leave.

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15-65! Why anyone would even bother to dry and draw conclusions about a fan base treated to that performance is baffling. I don't need anyone to give the St. Louis fan base props, but I think it ought to be admitted that that's a pretty lousy situation to be judged on.

It's not even just the last few years that St. Louis has been given a bad football product. It's, like, all of them except a few around the turn of the millennium. Add up the Gridbirds, the Rams, and the space between, and that's a whole lot of nothing to be excited about. Sometimes literally nothing to be excited about because there wasn't a team. So if St. Louis isn't the hotbed for football that it is for baseball, we can forgive them.

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Fair enough. But why the Rams' support is soft isn't really at issue here, only that it is.

The reality is that politicians are going to be asked to take taxpayer money away from vital public functions (which they can't even afford now) to fund a sport that the city doesn't appear to be all that keen on. Not a terribly strong position for the Rams in their negotiations.

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And that's a completely fair point, Goth. That's why last year about this time I thought we were in great shape. Franchise QB, a near miss at the playoffs, and all the room for growth in the world. It sure looked like the excitement was coming back, and that could have only helped the taxpayers willingness to pitch in.

Instead they tanked. Interest =/= morale, but I'd say this season, fan morale was probably at an all-time low. It has since jacked way up--fans are VERY optimistic about the new veteran coaching staff and the opportunity to get key parts in the draft. BUT, now we're in a situation where our fan base is afraid to go all-in because nobody is sure what the Rams future in St. Louis is.

Anyways, I'd still suggest there's going to be strong sentiment to pony up something from the cities end. Nobody wants to lose the franchise, and they've been pretty vocal about it. That said, I think we also all accept that there are limits to what the city can do, and we have to hope the Rams WANT to work something out.

If the Rams, or more accurately, Kroenke, wants to work something out, they'll stay.

Anyways, to summarize, certainly more excitement would help in this situation, but there's not exactly apathy on the fan base end. Not flocking to games (and again, it's not like ticket sales were that bad) to see a really bad football team doesn't mean people aren't interested in the future of the team. This isn't an Atlanta Thrashers situation where the team was so bad that a fan base barely existed and they could leave without much of an uproar. The fan base is here, and getting more and more vocal as this thing heats up.

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