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  1. #1
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Dome owners hire Goldman Sachs to help with stadium issues

    By David Hunn dhunn@post-dispatch.com 3
    ST. LOUIS • The agency that owns the Edward Jones Dome is fighting to find a home for the Rams in the region.

    The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority has hired Goldman Sachs, the multinational investment banking firm, to find ways to keep the Rams in the Dome or, if that’s not possible, hang on to a football team in St. Louis.

    The contract pays Goldman $20,000 a month, plus no more than $25,000 in total expenses, Dome officials said.

    Goldman will advise the authority as long as needed on ways to pay for Dome renovations, boost revenue if the Rams leave the building, and finance the construction of a new stadium.

    The agency’s board unanimously approved the move Monday afternoon. The goal, according to the resolution, is to renovate or build a facility “sufficient to retain a National Football League franchise in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.”

    The move is a marker that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the authority, which has so far played little public role in negotiations, will emerge as players in deciding the future of the NFL in St. Louis.

    Nixon, who appoints members to the authority, advised the board to hire Goldman. The governor, said board chairman Jim Shrewsbury, is “taking a much more direct role in this, a hands-on role.”

    The deal is also a pre-emptive strike — Shrewsbury made a point to note that Goldman is working for the Dome authority and not for Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

    Goldman Sachs has financed or advised on the financing of every NFL stadium recently built, officials said. Authority attorney Robert Blitz called Goldman executive Greg Carey “the guru of sports stadiums in the United States.”

    Shrewsbury said the firm has “unparalleled expertise in dealing with these issues.”

    Kevin Demoff, the Rams chief operating officer, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

    The authority was created by state law in 1988 to build, own and maintain the Edward Jones Dome. It contracts with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to run the facility, and the Rams lease the building from the CVC.

    By state law, the authority has the power to buy land and build and operate other stadiums, not just the Dome.

    Its board is made up of 11 commissioners, three appointed by St. Louis’ mayor, three by the St. Louis County executive and five by the governor. Shrewsbury, former president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, was recently named chairman of the stadium authority by Nixon.

    Nixon’s director of communications, Channing Ansley, did not make the governor or his staffers available for an interview Monday.

    In a statement, Nixon said: “The state has a long-term interest in the future of the Dome and in ensuring Missouri continues to be home to this proud NFL franchise. I look forward to my continued discussions with Greg Carey of Goldman Sachs about this matter.”

    Local officials applauded the governor and board.

    “It seems like a really good idea to us,” said Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “Whatever happens next is going to be complicated. To have the very best minds on our side makes a lot of sense. Our goal is to keep the Rams in St. Louis with the least amount of public subsidy possible.”

    Moreover, said Rainford, the move sends a signal to Kroenke that the region is serious about negotiating.

    Several board members and regional officials said that the Goldman fee, in this case, is worth the price.

    “Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money to you and me,” Shrewsbury said after the meeting. “It’s not a lot of money to an operation like this.”

    The authority receives $24 million a year from the state, St. Louis and St. Louis County. Most of the money goes toward paying off the bonds that built the $300 million Dome.

    The agency sends some to the CVC for Dome upkeep, and spends some — about $1.3 million in 2011 — on administrative expenses. And, at the end of 2011, it had about $30 million in savings.

    Shrewsbury said the Goldman fee would come out of the authority’s savings.

    A panel of arbitrators earlier this month ruled in favor of the Rams’ proposal to renovate the Dome, calling for an estimated $700 million in upgrades. The Rams and CVC had traded proposals for over a year on ways to make the Dome a “first-tier” football stadium by 2015, a requirement in the lease.

    Regional leaders have said an expensive upgrade to the Dome is not a smart investment, and the focus now will likely shift to a new stadium.

    “As a practical matter, the arbitrators’ decision is untenable,” Shrewsbury said.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Dome owners hire Goldman Sachs to help with stadium issues

    There is only one thing I am certain of when it comes to this issue, and that is Stan Kroenke is going to end up with a very good deal, however it is resolved.

    He is extremely methodical in his approach. No grand announcements or dire predictions. He has a plan, and he executes it behind doors. He has already won a huge battle by prevailing in the arbitration. In essence, he holds all the cards, and someone (whether its the CVC, the City of St. Louis, or some other entity with designs on hosting a stadium) is going to give him what he wants.

    While the uncertainty can be troubling, we are very fortunate to have a guy like Kroenke at the helm.

  3. #3
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Dome owners hire Goldman Sachs to help with stadium issues

    Yeah I agree Stan holds all the cards.

    I'm surprised by this move but it does show they will not go down without trying to work out a deal.

    The number that sticks out to me is the $500 million or more in NFL relocation fees to move to LA. Makes me think he will get a deal in St Louis.

    Its going to be interesting I just hope it does not become a distraction.

  4. #4
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    Re: Dome owners hire Goldman Sachs to help with stadium issues

    Goldman Sachs was "to big to fail" and got a ten billion dollar bailout. Could that be our plan or is the orginization going to sell "derivitives" short and leave town?

    In fairness Goldman paid back the loan. Like a slot machine.
    Prepare to be amazed.

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