The St. Louis Rams are one of three NFL teams looking to leave their current home for the Los Angeles area, and 2015 saw extensive efforts surrounding the Rams’ potential departure from the Gateway to the West.
The year was bookended by one big development in the Rams’ relocation effort and another in the attempt to keep the team in St. Louis. In January, reports surfaced that Rams owner Stan Kroenke planned to build a football stadium in Inglewood, Calif. To cap the year, the group behind St. Louis’ plan for a new, $1.1 billion riverfront stadium submitted its proposal to the NFL.
The Year in Brief offers a look at Missouri’s most important business stories of 2015 and previews how those stories could play out in 2016 and beyond.
That proposal’s framework was unveiled in January by Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz, who were tapped by Gov. Jay Nixon to lead the effort to keep the Rams in town. They fleshed out the plan over the course of the year, in the face of opposition from elected officials and others concerned about the stadium’s cost and the lack of public say in the process.
Stadium backers notched a big victory in August, when a judge ruled a public vote was not needed for the project to proceed. And, in December, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved public financing for the stadium.
Still, the plan faces opposition from state legislators. In August, they filed a lawsuit to block the use of money designated for the Edward Jones Dome on the new stadium. As the year closed, a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, filed an injunction to stop the stadium project.
And then there’s the issue of whether Kroenke would keep the Rams in St. Louis even with a stadium deal in place. The billionaire continued to pursue his stadium plan as the St. Louis group developed its own.
However, Kroenke is not alone in eyeing relocation to Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are pursuing a plan to become joint tenants at another new stadium in Carson, Calif.
In the future
With Schaaf’s group filing an injunction just before year’s end and Republican leadership from the Missouri House and Senate voicing opposition to the stadium project, 2016 figures to see a battle in the courts and the Capitol over funding for the stadium project.
Meanwhile, NFL owners are expected to vote Jan. 12 or 13 on whether to allow the Rams, Raiders or Chargers — or some combination thereof — to relocate to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.
The Rams remain on a year-to-year lease at the Edward Jones Dome, but the team’s home for the long-term future is likely to be determined before its 2016 season kicks off.
In a graphic
In a tweet
As 2015 ended, Schaaf offered an update on a new legal battle that awaits the proposed St. Louis stadium project in 2016:
We have filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop the 2nd StL stadium. I posted it on my Facebook page at https://t.co/8UqvIs5fLQ.
— Rob Schaaf (@robschaaf) December 31, 2015