Holdup Time Again Already?

As some of us predicted as early as fifteen years ago, the Rams are going to need more public funding to stay in St. Louis:

The St. Louis Rams’ future here could be in question because of two words that many fans don’t usually associate with the Edward Jones Dome: first tier.

Those words give the Rams a door to walk away from the team’s lease at the Dome — the building has to be a “first-tier” stadium by 2015, or among the top 25 percent of National Football League venues.

The lease itself, however, doesn’t offer much clarity on what constitutes first tier. It identifies several components that need to meet that bar, but also includes vague factors, such as “the physical structure of the facilities.” Another says simply ‘stadium seating.”

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

Winning over Rams owner Stan Kroenke could involve millions in publicly funded improvements. The key may be not necessarily to offer enough to make the Dome one of football’s first-tier shrines, but perhaps enough to get the Rams to look the other way or renegotiate the agreement.

You might say to yourself, “It doesn’t seem that long ago.” But you might be thinking about the St. Louis Cardinals demanding a large share of scarce public resources or they would move to Highland, Illinois, or something. That holdup was only seven years ago.

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