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NFL Merry-Go-Round: Relocation Roundelay


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The shortsightedness of TCF Stadium was a joke to begin with. The Gophers and Vikings should have gotten togther on a shared stadium from day one.

Agreed wholeheartedly. I still feel like it would be cheaper to retrofit TCF for NFL use than build another huge football stadium like three blocks away. That's so gratuitous and completely belies Minnesota's otherwise famous thriftiness.

I don't disgree. It certainly makes sense on a practical level. I can't recall whether both sides were opposed to sharing a stadium, but the University of Minnesota at least had reasons that seem rational. The Gopher football program has largely been irrelevant since the 1940s and in no way can compete at a recruiting level with the Ohio States and Michigans of the world. Having its own dedicated, on-campus stadium -- with the degree of regalness befitting a quality college football program -- was seen as a recruiting tool and, at least symbolically, a symbol of the university's intentions to revive the program.

You could call that self-serving marketing schlock, because it is, but other than the fiscal irresponsibility of the whole thing there's a kernel viable reasoning in there somewhere.

As I recall, the Vikings and U of M couldn't agree on a location for a shared stadium - the U of M specifically wanted theirs back on campus, and the Vikings wanted it, well, pretty much anywhere but the U of M campus, mainly due to a shortage of available parking and hotel rooms nearby. If the Vikings have to play there for a season or more while the new place is being built, expect plenty of fan complaints.

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The shortsightedness of TCF Stadium was a joke to begin with. The Gophers and Vikings should have gotten togther on a shared stadium from day one.

Agreed wholeheartedly. I still feel like it would be cheaper to retrofit TCF for NFL use than build another huge football stadium like three blocks away. That's so gratuitous and completely belies Minnesota's otherwise famous thriftiness.

Not to mention how strong the men are, how good looking the women are, and how all the children are above average. Quite frankly, I'm shocked.

Why thank you. ;)

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So $300M for that alone. We'll see what the other demands are.

Keep in mind that this is a bargaining tactic, so their plan will be as grandiose as the CVC's initial offer aws paltry. But they have, what, about a month to strike a deal or go into arbitration?

They have until June 15. I know it's probably more expensive as a retrofit, but it seems like yesterday retractable roofs added "only $100 million" to a new stadium's cost.

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A commenter on Pro Football Talk pointed out something that had slipped my mind throughout this whole story: A new Vikings stadium with a retractable roof would make an even more appealing site than Target Center or TCF Bank Stadium for a future NHL Winter Classic.

However, are retractable roof stadiums designed with weatherproofing in mind? I know that's always something that comes up when people suggest ripping the roof off Tropicana Field or Edward Jones Dome.

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A commenter on Pro Football Talk pointed out something that had slipped my mind throughout this whole story: A new Vikings stadium with a retractable roof would make an even more appealing site than Target Center or TCF Bank Stadium for a future NHL Winter Classic.

However, are retractable roof stadiums designed with weatherproofing in mind? I know that's always something that comes up when people suggest ripping the roof off Tropicana Field or Edward Jones Dome.

I don't know, but I doubt it.

You're right - they can't just simply pull off a roof, because the buildings generally aren't designed to handle any rain, there was no drainage pattern built into the structure.

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A commenter on Pro Football Talk pointed out something that had slipped my mind throughout this whole story: A new Vikings stadium with a retractable roof would make an even more appealing site than Target Center or TCF Bank Stadium for a future NHL Winter Classic.

However, are retractable roof stadiums designed with weatherproofing in mind? I know that's always something that comes up when people suggest ripping the roof off Tropicana Field or Edward Jones Dome.

I don't know, but I doubt it.

You're right - they can't just simply pull off a roof, because the buildings generally aren't designed to handle any rain, there was no drainage pattern built into the structure.

I know that used to come up from time to time about the metrodome and that was always the response. Whether it was the drainage, pipes or whatever...they could not just rip off the room and move on.

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And here's the plan summary:

Rams' dome-rehab plan includes sliding roof, rebuilt Broadway side

The St. Louis Rams’ vision for the Edward Jones Dome includes a significant expansion and the addition of an "operable roof panel" that could be opened to allow more natural light during game days, according to a renovation plan the franchise sent to the public agency that operates the Dome.

Although the plan attaches no dollar amount to the improvements, sources familiar with the plans say the cost could range from $500 million to $750 million. The latest crop of new National Football League stadiums have costs close to $1 billion or more.

The roof would not be fully retractable, at least not in the way that most fans understand the term. Instead, an angled portion of the new roof would slide away to reveal more daylight.

A more significant change would require the eastern half of the Dome be demolished and rebuilt over an expanded footprint that would include what is now a section of Broadway and a nearby plaza.

The new east section would include much larger concourses, as well enhanced seating, lobbies and entrances. Two so called "party platforms" — located close to the end zones — would allow for additional, temporary seating.

Many of those areas would be open to natural light as well, thanks to a glass curtain wall that would make up much of the Dome's new east facade.

The plan also would reconfigure existing seating to allow more flexibility for non-football events and to add seats for some football games, including a Super Bowl.

"The facility design should allow the seating bowl to be economically expanded to accommodate a Super Bowl event," according to the plan. "A minimum of 6,000 additional seats will be required to meet the NFL requirements."

The April 30 plan was a closely guarded secret until this morning, when it was made public by the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. The plan is a counter proposal to a Feb. 1 plan put forward by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, the public agency that operates the Dome.

The plan does not appear to include cost estimates for the extensive upgrades detailed in the plan, nor does it seem to indicate how much, if any, the Rams would be willing to contribute to the project’s financing.

Kevin Demoff, the Rams' vice president for football operations, wrote a cover letter that accompanied the plan. The plan is "presented in sufficient detail to permit the CVC to price improvements" before the commission's June 1 deadline to accept or reject the proposal, Demoff wrote in the letter.

The Rams are in the 17th year of a 30-year lease of the Dome that’s set to expire in 2025. However, an escape clause puts a heavy burden on the CVC, which also runs the America’s Center convention hall that’s attached to the Dome.

According to the lease, the Rams are free to terminate the lease as early as 2015 if the CVC fails to keep the Dome a “first-tier” stadium, or one that’s better than three-quarters of all NFL venues in 15 categories. If the Rams and the CVC can’t agree on a renovation plan satisfying the lease requirement by June 15, the matter goes into arbitration.

In a statement, Demoff said the team's lease of the Dome requires confidentiality. "The Rams will continue to respect those confidentiality obligations and will not comment on the Rams’ plans or the process we are following," he said.

On Feb. 1, the CVC unveiled its $124 million plan to overhaul the Dome. The Rams rejected it, and delivered a counter-proposal to the commission on May 1. Citing a confidentiality provision in the franchise’s lease, both the CVC and the team would not make the Rams’ plan public.

In its plan, the CVC had proposed adding new windows, club seats, a video scoreboard and a three-story structure on Baer Plaza that would serve as an entrance for fans in club seats and suites. It wanted the Rams to cover $64 million of the cost. The CVC plan did not specify exactly where the remaining $60 million would come from but listed higher fees for parking and tickets as one possibility.

Brian Hall, the CVC's chief marketing officer, said the commission would not comment on the Rams' plan. "We're reviewing the proposal and we're going to get back to them by June 1," he said.

The secrecy surrounding the “first-tier” process became a legal dispute this month, after the CVC and the Post-Dispatch filed lawsuits against each other.

The Post-Dispatch contends that the Rams’ proposal -- as well as other Dome-related documents -- are subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law, the state’s open-records law for governments and public agencies like the CVC. The commission maintains that the requested documents are exempt from the law.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach.

The Rams sent the Missouri Office of Administration a copy of the Rams’ plan because the state is a part-owner of the Dome. The state is not subject to the lease’s confidentiality provision, according to the CVC, and it was therefore free to make the plan public.

The Dome, which opened in 1995, was largely financed with $256 million in bonds, and the repayment of that 30-year debt will be $720 million. Every year, Missouri spends $12 million to pay off the debt, and St. Louis and St. Louis County each pay $6 million.

They released two renderings, which seem to indicate different approaches.

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Here's the real kicker for me:

"Although the plan attaches no dollar amount to the improvements, sources familiar with the plans say the cost could range from $500 million to $750 million." Sounds like we're headed to arbitration...

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Wow, did not see a proposal that involved completely rebuilding half of the stadium coming.

With the cost estimates, you have to think about just building new. There is some land in the suburb of Fenton where an old Chrysler plant was torn down that many people think would be a good site for a new stadium. The site has some access issues due to its proximity to the Meramec River, but I bet those could be worked out.

If anything close to that ever gets built (unlikely), I hope the CVC is smart enough to make the Rams sign a 30-year lease which makes the team responsible for capital improvements. No more "top-tier clause".

Also, I would think the team would have to play a season at Mizzou or something; this proposal is a lot closer to the Soldier Field rebuilding than the Lambeau Field renovation.

I know there's a lot of negotiation to do, but not optimistic about the Rams staying.

I am still baffled that a stadium built in 1995 is considered obsolete in 2012-14.

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Here's something that only recently has been reported, but I think seems like a very key factor.

The Rams ARE bound to the arbitration decision if the CVC accepts it. So if the arbitrator sides with the CVC or a plan that is less than the Rams are after and the CVC accepts, then the Rams can't simply balk at it and leave. They'll be bound to that agreement.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/65200/rams-on-stadium-clock-make-it-a-sun-dial

Going to be very interesting to see how this plays out.

The Rams proposal looks great, but they're not getting $700 million in city funds. We'll see how it all plays out. I suspect if the Rams truly want a stadium like that, they'll have to come to an agreement where they're footing a substantial part of the bill. Was the CVC's offer on the bare bones side? Sure. But the Rams proposal goes well beyond meeting the clauses in the lease.

Another interesting factor in the Rams proposal, however, is that it appears to have a goal to attract a Super Bowl, more NCAA basketball games, and perhaps more (a bowl game, non-sporting events, etc.). Those are events that would benefit the city. Would make it easier for the city to hand over funds.

I'm still optimistic about this. I didn't expect anything less. It's of little surprise the Rams asked for the moon. The real answers are still to come. How much will the Rams concede? How much will the Rams kick in? How will the arbitrator rule?

We're probably still months and months away from answering those questions.

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I am still baffled that a stadium built in 1995 is considered obsolete in 2012-14.

Because the guy who tried to buy the Dodgers is moving his football team to L.A..

And the guy who tried to buy the Rams is moving his to St. Louis.

(Just playing along with the "we don't actually know anyone's intentions, but let's make large assumptions based on some past occurrences" game.)

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You don't see a guy trying to take advantage of a loophole?

And no one is going to be moving to St. Louis. They aren't big enough or proven enough for a third try. The NFL wont go back there in our lifetime.

I don't think anybody knows what they see right now. It's a business process. Speculation is speculation. This could still very much go either way from what we know. I suspect the parties involved know which way this will likely go, but we have absolutely zero insights into their thinking. (Actually, we've had some claims of insights into their thinking, but they've suggested the Rams would stay in St. Louis, so they've been written off.)

As for giving St. Louis a third try, hopefully we never know. If we do, I wouldn't rule it out. There aren't a lot of good new options for teams besides LA, and there are other markets that aren't exactly succeeding. If any one of them were to move, I think St. Louis would immediately be in play.

And the team I referenced in my snarky comment, the Jags, would be at the forefront. Who knows if Khan could get out of the lease. I know it's long, I don't know how tight it is. He's said he's committed to Jacksonville, but he's never said the Jags will stay in Jacksonville and he has implied fan support needs to get better. If St. Louis opened and fan support hadn't improved, I think he's start looking through that lease awfully close.

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You don't see a guy trying to take advantage of a loophole?

And no one is going to be moving to St. Louis. They aren't big enough or proven enough for a third try. The NFL wont go back there in our lifetime.

I don't think anybody knows what they see right now. It's a business process. Speculation is speculation. This could still very much go either way from what we know. I suspect the parties involved know which way this will likely go, but we have absolutely zero insights into their thinking. (Actually, we've had some claims of insights into their thinking, but they've suggested the Rams would stay in St. Louis, so they've been written off.)

As for giving St. Louis a third try, hopefully we never know. If we do, I wouldn't rule it out. There aren't a lot of good new options for teams besides LA, and there are other markets that aren't exactly succeeding. If any one of them were to move, I think St. Louis would immediately be in play.

And the team I referenced in my snarky comment, the Jags, would be at the forefront. Who knows if Khan could get out of the lease. I know it's long, I don't know how tight it is. He's said he's committed to Jacksonville, but he's never said the Jags will stay in Jacksonville and he has implied fan support needs to get better. If St. Louis opened and fan support hadn't improved, I think he's start looking through that lease awfully close.

Well, if it helps you sleep at night. Don't let the moving trucks keep you awake.

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