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  1. #1
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    Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    FROM STAFF REPORTS

    ST. LOUIS • The Rams have won a clear victory in the negotiations over the Edward Jones Dome.

    A panel of three arbitrators sided with the team today, saying the Rams' plan for a dramatic renovation of the Dome -- estimated to cost at least $700 million -- is the only way to make the building a "first tier" football facility.

    The Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, now has 30 days to decide if it will try to enact the Rams' plan. But one of its lead attorneys, Greg Smith, said this afternoon that is "unlikely."

    If the CVC indeed rejects the plan, the Rams' lease at the Dome will go on a year-to-year basis starting in March 2015.

    The talks between local leaders and the Rams are then expected to shift away from the Dome -- and towards the idea of building a new stadium, on a new site.

    The three arbitrators, from the American Arbitration Association, were: retired Colorado judge Federico C. Alvarez, from Denver; former Iowa judge David Blair, from Sioux City; and labor attorney Sinclair Kossoff, from Chicago.

    They were brought in to decide whether the CVC's proposal, or that of the Rams, would propel the Dome into "first tier" status, or top 25 percent of NFL stadiums, in several different categories. The Rams' lease at the Dome mandates that the building be a "first tier" facility by 2015.

    The CVC had proposed a $124 million plan, with the team picking up about half of the tab. The Rams countered with a much more expansive renovation that city leaders estimated would cost at least $700 million.

    Smith said the arbitrators found the Dome to be lacking in several areas, including a small footprint, narrow aisles, poor light, and an upper-level overhang that would prevent good views for a modern center-hung scoreboard.

    "It would be premature to comment on what the next steps are," Smith said. "We obviously have to have time to hold conversations among community leaders."


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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    I'm not shocked.

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    LA people's ears perk
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

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    Rams Plan Chosen For Dome-- May Mean Rebuild –Video

    Arbitrators have chosen the St. Louis Ram’s plan for the Edward Jones Dome improvements. The Rams’ proposal involves an enlargement and total re-build of the current dome. The estimated price tag is around $700 million dollars. Video includes statement from the Rams Kevin Demoff.

    Watch Stadium Story

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    What to know about Rams stadium ruling
    By Mike Sando

    ESPN.com - What to know about Rams stadium ruling

    NEW ORLEANS -- Nothing puts football fans to sleep quite like stadium arbitration updates, so I'll make this brief.

    The St. Louis Rams moved closer to securing a new stadium in St. Louis or elsewhere Friday when an arbiter chose the team's proposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades over a cheaper proposal from the city's stadium authority.

    The decision comes as no shock. It's the latest step in a process set forth in the existing lease agreement. The agreement compelled the stadium authority to provide the Rams with one of the NFL's eight best stadiums by 2015. The sides made competing proposals. An arbiter chose the Rams' proposal.

    The stadium authority now has 30 days to accept or reject the Rams' proposal, which called for massive and expensive overhauls to the Edward Jones Dome. A rejection is more likely. At that point, the Rams' lease, currently set to run through 2025, would convert to a year-by-year basis beginning in 2015.

    Every one of the Rams' division rivals has built a new stadium since 2002 or is building one now. The Rams will want a new one, too. They now have additional leverage to get one.

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    Stranger things have happened but I'd be shocked if the Rams get $700m from St. Louis. Might be time to pack those bags boys.

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    RamBill's Avatar
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    Updated:Rams win arbitration-- talk of new stadium next?/ PD

    • By Nicholas J.C. Pistor

    Rams win arbitration on Dome; talk of new stadium next? : Stltoday

    The St. Louis Rams convinced a panel of arbitrators that the Edward Jones Dome would need a major overhaul to transform into a top stadium, setting the stage for the next round of talks over St. Louis’ football future: a new stadium.

    The three arbitrators on Friday ruled that the Rams’ proposal for a dramatic renovation of the Dome — estimated to cost at least $700 million — was the only way to make the building a “first tier” football facility.

    The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, now has 30 days to decide if it will try to enact the Rams’ plan. But one of its lead attorneys, Greg Smith, said Friday that was “unlikely.”

    If the CVC rejects the plan, as expected, the Rams’ lease at the Dome will go to a year-to-year basis starting in March 2015, freeing the team to potentially leave St. Louis for Los Angeles or another city.

    But talks between local leaders and the Rams are expected to shift toward the idea of building a new stadium, on a new site.

    Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said Friday’s ruling was only one step “in the journey through the whole process.”

    “We now have clarity,” Rainford said. “The Rams will hopefully let everyone know what they really want, and we’ll see what we can do to help.”

    The three arbitrators, from the American Arbitration Association, were: retired Colorado judge Federico C. Alvarez, from Denver; former Iowa judge David Blair, from Sioux City; and labor attorney Sinclair Kossoff, from Chicago.

    They were brought in to decide whether a proposal from the CVC, or one from the Rams, would propel the Dome into “first tier” status, defined as the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums, in several categories. The Rams’ lease at the Dome runs through 2025, but the team is allowed to break the lease and go on a year-to-year basis if the building is not a “first tier” facility by 2015.

    Arbitration hearings began in mid-January and lasted about two weeks. The ruling Friday came earlier than the Rams and city officials expected.

    In the end, the arbitrators found several deficiencies with the Dome.

    “First, the facilities as a whole are lacking, principally because of the small footprint on which the dome is built,” they wrote in their ruling. “It is the smallest in the NFL.”

    They also said the building “lacks openness, light and air.”

    “During the twenty years since the Dome was opened in 1995, 17 of the 22 domes built have been open-air stadiums,” the arbitrators wrote. “In order to be first tier, the Dome must be open or, if closed, must have an operable roof and abundant natural light inside.”

    They also found obstacles to adding club seats, and providing those seats with adequate leg room, as well as obstacles to providing fans in suites— “the most expensive seats in the house” — with good views of a new center-hung scoreboard.

    The arbitrators noted that the “first tier” standard in the lease was “exceptionally high.” They utimately ruled that the Rams’ proposal “will produce a first tier stadium and that the CVC plans will not.”

    The ruling came with a bonus for the Rams: The CVC must cover the team’s “reasonable” legal fees. The amount will be determined after a review by the arbitrators. Sources say the Rams spent about $3 million on attorneys during the negotiation and arbitration process.

    The CVC had proposed a $124 million plan to renovate the Dome, and wanted the team to pick up about half the tab. The proposal called for, among other features, a new glass addition, outdoor terraces, a new center-hung scoreboard, new club seats, renovated suites and new lounges.

    The Rams countered with a much more expansive plan. The team called for tearing down half the Dome, extending its footprint across Broadway and adding a large glass wall, similar to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It also called for a playing-field-size sliding roof, reconfigured seating, two end-zone “party platforms” and new, larger entrances.

    City leaders estimated the Rams’ plan would cost at least $700 million; they also complained that it would prevent holding conventions and other events in the Dome for nearly three years during construction.

    On Friday, the Rams released a statement saying they were pleased with the arbitrators’ decision and that it showed “significant improvements are required to put the Edward Jones Dome on equal standing with most National Football League stadiums and to enhance the fan experience.”

    Smith, the CVC’s attorney, said “it would be premature to comment on what the next steps are. We obviously have time to hold conversations among community leaders.”

    But the focus had already started to shift to the possibility of a new stadium, with three potential sites: a large swath of farmland in Maryland Heights, stretching south from Interstate 70 and down the new Highway 141 extension; the former Chrysler plant site in Fenton; and the Bottle District just north of downtown, in the shadow of the Dome.

    Talk of a new stadium would include a debate about the mix of public and private money that would be needed.

    Rams owner Stan Kroenke has been mostly silent during the negotiations. But in comments made before the arbitrators’ decision was released, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed optimism the stadium situation would be resolved.

    “I believe Stan Kroenke wants that outcome,” Goodell said. “They’re all working together to try and get there. ... I’m optimistic they will.”

    Goodell made his remarks Friday during his annual Super Bowl press conference. He said the league was willing to do its part financially to help provide funding for a renovated or new stadium.

    “If we can get to the point where we have the structure of a deal, I’m very confident that the league will support that and participate,” Goodell said.

    Rainford stressed that Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley had pledged to put any proposed tax increase for a renovated or new stadium up for a vote.

    “The people of St. Louis will be the ones who decide,” Rainford said.

    The Dome cost more than $300 million to build in the mid-1990s, but repayment for 30-year bonds to finance it will reach $720 million. Every year, Missouri spends $12 million to pay off the debt, and St. Louis and St. Louis County each pay $6 million.

    Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

  8. #8
    RamBill's Avatar
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    Rams Fans Split on Fate of the Team

    From: KSDK - St. Louis sports fans are split when it comes to guessing what will happen next if the Rams terminate their lease with the Edward Jones Dome in 2015.

    Watch Fans Reactions to Rams Fate

  9. #9
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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    Rainford stressed that Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley had pledged to put any proposed tax increase for a renovated or new stadium up for a vote.

    “The people of St. Louis will be the ones who decide,” Rainford said
    I don't live in St, Louis, but I don't see any way a tax increase will be approved. Push is going tp come to shove. Stan is going to have some extremely hard decisions to make.

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    I am definately torn. It goes without question I want the Rams to stay, but at what cost. The City doesn't have a financial pot to piss in and far too much of the city consists of bombed-out properties. Any stroll along I-70 makes apparent the serious problems the City has. Dropping 700M on a new/refit stadium deal is going to be hard to swallow.

    It does help the Rams are not freaking horrible anymore.

  11. #11
    gap's Avatar
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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I don't live in St, Louis, but I don't see any way a tax increase will be approved. Push is going tp come to shove. Stan is going to have some extremely hard decisions to make.
    It will be approved if it is touted as only taxing the 1%ers. Once it is passed then they can tax the crap out of everyone to pay for it all. ;/


    gap

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    As crazy as this sounds, I feel like the Rams success in the next few years could decide if St. Louis and the people will back them or help them pack their bags.

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    Quote Originally Posted by DE_Ramfan View Post
    Stranger things have happened but I'd be shocked if the Rams get $700m from St. Louis. Might be time to pack those bags boys.
    As if that would be the only option. Perhaps they should pack their jobs for Fenton or another area of St Louis.

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    Re: Arbitrators rule in favor of Rams in Dome negotiations

    Don't forget that Goodell is a part of this, too. He provided assistance for Minnesota's stadium back when it was in a similar phase to our current scenario. If he feels as though the Rams should be in St. Louis, they will be. No way around it.

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