The National Football League’s Rams left behind more than $144 million in debt and maintenance costs for the Edward Jones Dome when the team ditched St. Louis for Los Angeles last month.
Without the Rams’ revenue, St. Louis is facing a deep financial hole at a time when the city is facing a spiking murder rate, high poverty and high debt. Taxpayers will now shoulder the remaining payments for the stadium with only the help of revenue from events like tractor pulls, volleyball tournaments and concerts.
St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has asked the NFL to help pay off the stadium, but so far has gotten no response.
Across the country, cities have gotten stuck with substantial leftover debt and maintenance costs after sports teams leave. And it’s not uncommon for local governments to pay debts and maintenance on abandoned stadiums for years — even after demolition. Sports economists say this issue reflects larger problems with the NFL’s negotiating policies.
The league and the Rams did not respond to requests to comment.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch