Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Ken Seufert: Kroenke has an option to buy. Why hold the option unless you intend to exercise it. Why keep a minority interest if you aren't going to exercise the option if offfered. Yes he has other franchise interest he would have to dispose of but why wouldn't he? Isn't the NFL the crown jewel? How do you live in Mid-missouri and be the person who allowed the NFL to leave St. Louis. It is easier to get rich and be the heroe then it is to get rich and be the villain.
What is this all about? A new Stadium, open air and out of the most dreadful place for football, i.e., downtown St. louis. I say give the RAMS a new stadium with lots of room for tail gating and partying with a real NFL atmosphere. Remember the Cardinals new stadium; remember how that started; how they got just what they wanted. This just more of the same. It started about 8 yeats ago. Get ready For the shakedown here it comes. Pay up or be prepared for the highest bidder to take the RAMS off our hands.
Regardless, Downtown is just atrocious for football. Sooner we get out of there the better. Let Baseball crowd have downtown. Give the Rams fan there very own NFL venue in St. Louis. Preferably, some place that is open and flat with lots of parking. Tail gaiting is football; Try to do that in downtown St. Louis. It is a joke.
Ken, PSL Holder from the beginning.
Bryan Burwell: kroenke has a good reason to remain a minority owner. he owns the building in denver along with the pro basketball and hockey teams (plus i believe there are interests in some minor league operations as well).
as to the ultimate shakedown you predict, it's in the lease with the city. STL must provide a stadium that is one of the eight best in the NFL, and they have until 2015 to make sure that happens. If that means we'll have to build a new stadium eventually (it does) then do it. look what happened to indianapolis, they built a newer dome and now they have a super bowl.
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions from the (suddenly very nervous)civilians in Rams Nation. I always enjoy your columns and your television work, and your insight is greatly appreciated.
I'll do my best to put a different slant on this (since you can only ask the question, "Will the Rams stay in St. Louis, or won't they?" so many different ways): IF I understand the situation right (and that's a big IF), the Rams can only void their lease and leave town if the Dome is not in the the top quarter of facilities in the league by 2015. Any chance enough improvements are made by then to improve the Dome's standing and render the issue moot, or is the Ed just too obsolete?
Also, do you think all of this speculation will have a trickle-down effect? Could this matter effect the on-field product in 2008, or would those types of things only manifest closer to the time of an actual move?
ST. LOUIS Rams FOREVER!!!!!
Bryan Burwell: you are correct about the lease agreement. The Rams are putting in new improvements already, with new artificial surface, bigger and improved scoreboards and improvements along the concourses..... but eventually, the dome will become obsolute and the city will have to either build a new dome or else....
I don't think this talk will affect the on-field product.
Buckster: Okay, we should have expected something like this when Georgia passed (God rest her soul). The unreal amount of value Forbes has attached to this franchise makes it a simple thing. If I was Chip and wasn't interested in being an aggressive owner-SELL. Sorry but thats the simple math of it all.
By the way, can anyone tell me what is "endearing" or loveable about the dome? It is sterile, cold, dank, dark and dusky. It has no personality whatsoever? I love the NFL and the Rams and the old Cardinals but it seems we rushed to build something that would not stand the test of time, long-term and now we see, short term. The dome is a horrible facility and doesn't do anything for downtown (not that anything would). If they leave, bye bye and thanks for the memories and a huge debt. They basically got a free ride here. We cannot give anything more to keep them.
Bryan Burwell: i disagree with your "see ya later" sentiments. If A-B wanted tax breaks or capital improvements around its plant would you tell them to hit the road? Nope. So why would you do that to another major business that is part of the lifeblood of downtown revitalization? If this city doesn't have pro sports, and there was no dome, the Washington Ave. loft revitalization would never have happened.
I think Indianapolis is the perfect guide to STL in how sports can become a major industry for a mid-sized city like ours
bash-on: Now that both Jake Long and Matt Ryan have been signed, (Long for 57+ million over 5 years with 30 mil guaranteed and Ryan for 72 million with 30 some odd million guaranteed), what would be a reasonable contract offer for Chris Long and how is it going to sit with the teams established players? They can't be happy watching a snot-nosed, (if likable), kid come in and get the richest contract in team history without proving anything! Crazy. When is this going to change... (and I hope he gets everything he can).
Bryan Burwell: there's no such thing as a reasonable contract. you get what you can get. that's how you negotiate. He'll end up with guaranteed money in the $25 million range at the very least, probably more.
JB: Bryan, thanks for contacting Rosenbloom and getting a much more specific statement regarding the Rams.
After reading that original statement, it made me worry even more about the Rams future here. I'm glad you were able to get Chip to clear things up.
Bryan Burwell: JB,
please understand that ultimately Rosenbloom and his sister may sell the team regardless of what he says today. With estate taxes being so harsh to the surviving family members, unless they are flushed with about $225 million, they may have no choice but to sell off shares of the team to pay the estate tax. But at least for now, rest easy. This team is here for at least the next nine years (2015 plus one year), and the lease is through 2025.
Armen Dacity: One name that intrigues me as a possible #3 QB is Byron Leftwich, who is currently unemployed. I assume he'd be relatively inexpensive, and he certainly has more experience and potential than Brock Berlin. What do you think?
Bryan Burwell: Oh yeah, then the Rams would have three brittle, immoble quarterbacks on their roster who are one hard hit away from the funny farm
Mark in NY: Bryan, nice to see you having chats... love your work.
Are the Rams for sale? Of course they are for sale. Do people really think a LA movie producer and his sister are interested in owning a football team? I think the only reason Georgia kept the Rams was because it gave her the publicity and fame and wealth she always craved. People say it was about family, but it didn't stop her from firing Caroll Rosombloom's son John when he was president, or moving the Rams from So Cal and breaking millions of fan's hearts.
Chip says people disrespected her and no one supported the football team. Well, what do you expect when you put a lousy product on the field. I remember when the Rams were a good football team with Jim Everett (right after the Dickerson trade), and all the fans were wearing melons on their heads! Georgia asked all the football players to wear some stupid necklaces during games for good luck!
Everyone made fun of her... the team started playing poorly (it happens), so she hires John Shaw to run the team, flips the good people of LA the bird, and then tells the nation, after the team wins the Super Bowl, that that "proves" it was the right decision (like the move had anything to do with it). IMHO, she always felt "disrespected" from the NFL about moving from that HUGE market (but it was still easier than trying to fix a football team - and she got what... a guaranteed profit of 15 million annually from St Louis?).
Lastly, now I know why Linehan is still there... because "she liked him". Is that any way to run a football team? Personally, I think the best thing for the Rams and their fans would be for them to sell the team. Any family would be better, and it doesn't matter where they are located.
I'm sorry to rant but this has been building up for many years. Am I wrong about this?
Bryan Burwell: Hey Mark, no problem, consider me Doctor Phil and this is our couch. Vent baby. Expose your feelings. I'm sensing some abandonment issues with you....
Tackleberry: If the Rams have another miserable season they would be crowned the worst franchise in the NFL. This team has a deteriorating fan base, an antiquated stadium, and a front office who seems destined to steer this franchise into the ground. I realize that it was Georgia's last wish that Linehan remain as head coach but that might be the ruin of this team. A friendly suggestion to Chip Roseblum: if this season is anywhere less than 8-8, get out your mop,bucket, & broom, and clean house. Send the cronies & phonies packing and get some real people at the helm of this sinking ship.
Bryan Burwell: I'll let you in on a little secret. Chip Rosenbloom is a smart man. He genuinely cares about this franchise from the initial conversations I've had with him. He cared enough to respond when he was told his answers weren't clear enough. Give him big points for that. But I also think he's smart enough as a business man to not come in and start moving furniture around without truly understanding what's going on. he will use this first season to observe and then backed by hands-on knowledge, he will do what is appropriate if things go south with the team on the field.
Greg Gibson: Greetinigs Bryan...as much as it seems just like yesterday that The Ed was built it looks as though another stadium may be necessary in 5-10 years. I am informed that the Rams lease agreement calls for The Ed to be competitive with the top eight stadiums in the NFL. We the addition of the new stadium in Dallas, the new stadium in Indy, the one just completed in Arizona...the bar has been raised. Will taxpayers be asked to pony up for a new building? Where is the money going to come from? Any clues?
Bryan Burwell: Greg, you're absolutely right. This is the cost of doing big business. As a friend of mine who used to be an NFL executive used to tell me, "If you're going to do big business, do big business." In other words, no half steps, no short cuts. By my count, the city of STL has some work to do between now and 2015, because by then there will be new stadiums in NY, Dallas and Indy up, and that would mean that at least 12 NFL stadiums would be considered superior to the Edward Jones Dome (my estimation: Arizona, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, New England, Indy, NY, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Washington).
If we want an NFL franchise to stay here, we need to find a way to keep them in a building that is world-class.
brstjames: Please consider that Stan Kroenke has a right of first refusal in the event the Rams are put up for sale, which he would undoubtedly exercise in order to finally become majority owner of the team. Please also consider that unless your name is Al Davis it is very difficult to move NFL franchises, that L.A. is not the panacea for football that some people think it is, that there are few, if any media markets bigger than St.Louis that do not already have NFL teams (it is all about the television revenue), and that the Rams have a sweetheart lease to play at the dome, and that we would make it even sweeter if the Rams make any noise about moving the team. What do you think?
Bryan Burwell: Kroenke isn't going to sell off his interests in Denver. He owns the building and is in charge of two highly successful franchises in the NBA and NHL and the money flow goes into his pockets and he doesn't have to share.
I firmly agree that the city will do whatever it has to contractually to maintain a world class facility to keep an NFL team here.
Rampage88: Hey Bryan! Nice article in the paper today. I think St. Louis would be pretty dull if the Rams left. I am not the biggest baseball fan, and couldn't care less about hockey. That said, do you believe the Rams will remain for the long term? What are the odds that they will get a state of the art stadium in the future? Also, how soon could this happen? I would love for the Rams to get a new stadium with a retractable roof. The current stadium is lacking when compared to most other teams in the league.
Bryan Burwell: I think they'll be here as long as the city maintains a world-class stadium among the top eight in the NFL. Right now, they've already fallen behind probably 10 to 12 stadiums by my count. So over the next eight or nine years they will have to make major improvements. I also think that it's inevitable that a new stadium will be constructed within the next 15 years.
Rita from South County: Hi Bryan,
It's so nice of you to do these chats. Welcome to the online community!
I am so sick and tired of this topic. I can't believe the gall of people who continue to think that we in St. Louis must/will tolerate this chronic notion that the Rams will move, and if so, back to Los Angeles. We as a community have paid much for the team to move here, and we continue to support the franchise.
Are we happy that they are having losing seasons? No, of course not.
I couldn't care less if LA ever gets another football team, and I know a number of people who agree with me. LA has lost multiple football teams, despite having a larger population and a higher per capita income than St. Louis. What business person in their right mind would want to invest in a team for that market?
If and when Chip/Lucia decide to sell their team, it's their right to do so. However, I seriously doubt that they would come to St. Louis, in the high-profile manner in which they did, meet the media, thank the community for its support of their mother, and then turn around and sell the team. They do not strike me as the kind of people to conduct themselves in such a manner.
As for the CVC, of course they will take the position that there's no money in the pot for dome improvements. What else are they supposed to say? "We have a bottomless pit of cash. Come and get it".
The dome needs improvements. It's going to cost a lot of money to make the improvements. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. It will be said, by a number of people, that there's no money to pay for the improvements. There will be talk of the team moving elsewhere. Then, in the end, money will be found to make the improvements, if the powers that be want the Rams to stay here.
I hope, for everyone's sake, that the Rams have a winning season this year. I hope Chip and Lucia keep this team, because they appear to be very nice, humble people. I hope the Rams stay in St. Louis forever. I hope the people who keep stirring this pot shut-up and go find a life.
Bryan Burwell: Hi Rita, and thanks for the welcome wagon into my new humble internet home.
I'm with you. I hope the Rams stay here forever, and I hope that Chip and Lucia are the ones who keep them here. But the key to insuring that STL always has an NFL franchise is for the city to provide the best possible venue to the team to play in. They've done everything they were supposed to do over the past 13 years and I suspect they will continue to do so.
kdunlap: What are the chances another team will fill the void in LA before the Rams are sold or are able to weasel out of their lease? I am thinking about Jacksonville, San Diego or New Orleans (the Superdome is over 30 years old)
I think if a team goes there then the likelihood the team leaves is much smaller.
Bryan Burwell: good question.... Jacksonville and San Diego are the most likely in my view. San Diego has been slow to do anything about the old and outdated stadium it has and the NFL has made it clear that they'll never get another Super Bowl without a new stadium. Jax is another one depending on if the owner finally decides to sell. He keeps hinting he will, but then changes his mind when it looks like his team is going to make a super bowl run.
Thanks for taking our questions. I was a LA Rams season seat holder for 9 years before they left for St. Louis. I still follow the team and will always follow the team, no matter where they are. The current situation reminds me, at the beginning stages, of the Rams move. There were a lot of rumors and talk about the options for the team. This situation is slightly different as the ownership has passed to very loyal children. The last thing they want is to hurt their mom's wishes, but their mom would not want them to be burdened with any financial or personal commitment, if they are unable to handle it.
Any good negotiator will rarely tell you he wants to or needs to sell. If I were Chip, I would do whatever I could to increase the price. That being said, if you had to go out on a limb, do they sell the Rams in the next 3yrs?
Bryan Burwell: Anything is possible, even when people say they are not selling. I am going to say that the team might be sold over the next five years, but it will remain in St. Louis.
Steve Roberts: Thanks for answering our questions Bryan.
Do we have any idea what the Rams currently pay via the lease agreement? Why is it assumed that if the Rams void the lease (which they obviously have a financial interest in doing) that they won't just renegotiate a far more lucrative lease for the team?
Bryan Burwell: I don't know what they're dishing out, but there are some shortcomings to it, like the Rams don't get to wet their beak on stadium parking because the dome and convention center doesn't own the parking concession surrounding the dome. the key to this deal is what improvements on the stadium will the city continue to make on the dome. They have already upgraded the playing surface, put in new scoreboards and improved the concourses and painted the place. I'd still love to see a hall of fame statue plaza for football like busch stadium has for its baseball legends.
Thank you for your exposing the Pats and Bill Belichick in your article last week. I think you were one of the few who supported many of us Rams fans who felt this was an injustice. When the Walsh tapes were giving to Goodall, he was more than too egger to declare this over and sweep it under the rug. Many around the country and here were trying to say tapes and the Pats conduct was business as usual. Only you in this town came out and called it what it; cheating.
Since then, some like the Ryan article and the Specter press conference have questioned the NFL motives and cast doubts about the Pats integrity. Same stuff you said, but you said here and you said it first.
Kudos and keep up the good work
Bryan Burwell: Feet don't fail me now.
Thanks for the compliments. I'll keep sniffing around
Here is my prediction with this situation. We will hear very little about the sale over the next several months. The talk will begin again around Oct./Nov. 2008. By the end of the playoffs, Rams will annouce they are selling the team. (Buyer is already found) Before the draft, new ownership is introduced and will keep all vital staff during transition. Ownership in 2010 begins talks with stadium group and asks for over $150 million in upgrades to improve stadium. Stadium group says $50 million. There is a legal tussel and a buyout settlement is negotiated. Rams head back to Los Angeles for the 2012 season with a new owner, office personnel and back to their old colors. What do you think?
Bryan Burwell: Ruben, it's a lovely story, but it's sheer fiction. This team is locked into St. Louis at least through the 2016 season. It's an ironclad lease. Period.
Andy: This one is unrelated to the potential sale of the Rams, but I've already seen a couple of off-topic question, so, while you're here...
What do you think of Chavous? A lot of fans and pundits keep calling for his head, but the Rams' decision-makers obviously feel compelled to stick with him. They didn't even draft an EVENTUAL heir, which I thought they would. Even if Chavous is good to go for awhile, he can't last forever. What do you think? Will Chavous maintain a high level of play for awhile longer?
Also, do you know if Long has the ability to slide inside on obvious passing downs? On a predraft radio show, Jim Hannifan suggested this might be a possibility. Assuming Little regains his old form, imagine a pass-rushing front four of Witherspoon-Long-GZlover or Carriker-Little. That could be a spectacle!
Bryan Burwell: I think the Rams coaches value Cory's leadership as much if not more than his on-field abilities. He is a critical voice and presence in that room who is unafraid to lead.
And yes, Long probably will get a few looks as an inside rusher on ocassion.
Tom O'Sullivan: Bryan;
L.A's already lost two NFL franchises. If L.A. was a viable market there'd be a team there by now. Hell, it's been 14 years. Where would you move the Rams? San Antonio? Las Vegas? Portland? Those cities couldn't do better than St. Louis!
Bryan Burwell: Another very good point. No one has conclusively shown NFL owners that putting a team back in LA would be a smart business decision. The reality is the Rams are here for at least nine years, period.
Thanks for hanging out with me this morning. The intelligent level of questions was impressive and reinforces what I've believed since I arrived here seven years ago: STL is a very underappreciated pro football town.
The Notorious Man of the People is outta here for now. Talk to you again soon