As the St. Louis Rams were preparing for potentially their last game in the city they have called home for the past two decades, reports surfaced that local authorities were prepared to pass a $1.1 billion financing plan for the team on the St. Louis waterfront.
This led to some speculation that the plan set forth by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to move the team to Southern California might not pass through the necessary steps to become reality at some point next month.
Now in the final stages of figuring out what team(s) between the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders will be calling Los Angeles home in 2016, the NFL itself isn’t pulling any punches.
According to David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is balking at the idea of providing the city with the necessary $300 million to aid in the local authority’s attempts to get that new stadium erected in St. Louis.
A letter Goodell recently sent to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon tells us a story of a league that is not prepared to dole out the extra $100 million to help finance the stadium. In fact, the commissioner indicated that said stadium proposal is “fundamentally inconsistent with the NFL’s program of stadium financing.”
It’s not that the NFL isn’t willing to help fund the stadium. It’s about that aforementioned extra $100 million. In the past, the league has been willing to help finance a stadium with funds of up to $200 million. This was the case with the most recent stadium built in Santa Clara last year.
Remember, the league set forth a December 30th deadline for current host cities to provide substantial plans to keep their teams in their current markets.
The Board of Aldermen in St. Louis is set to vote on the current proposal on Friday. If it were to pass as is, and without any future amendments, it likely wouldn’t meet the NFL’s guidelines for a substantial plan.
Then again, local authorities could amend said proposal to take into account the extra $100 million the NFL isn’t willing to provide.
Unfortunately for Rams fans in St. Louis, local authorities don’t seem willing to amend the bill it is set to vote on Friday:
“We are not changing this bill,” Alderman Jack Coatar said. “We are passing the bill as is tomorrow. We have the votes and we’re moving forward.”
The Board of Aldermen had previously changed the bill to reduce the taxpayer funds by $100 million, further burdening the league itself.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this change was mainly due to the idea that the vote wouldn’t pass with that extra $100 million slated to be taken from taxpayers.
With all this coming to a head over the next month or so, St. Louis is running out of time. If the city cannot find a way to include that extra sum of cash, the NFL will not view the proposal as legitimate later this month, paving the way for a Rams move to Los Angeles.