SBD/January 30, 2012/Franchises

CVC Says Rams' Stadium Lease Prohibits Team From Playing Home Games In London

Wednesday is deadline for CVC to present Rams with detailed plan for improving Dome
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission Friday said that the Rams "cannot play 'home' games more than 4,000 miles away in London under the terms" of their lease, according to Matthew Hathaway of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The CVC "contends that the Rams' plan to play one home game at London's Wembley Stadium each year for the next three seasons would violate the team's 30-year lease of the Dome." That lease is "under increased scrutiny, as the CVC tries to figure how to close an escape clause that could let the Rams skip town after the 2014 season." Wednesday is the deadline for the CVC to "present the Rams with a detailed plan for improving the Dome -- to satisfy the lease's requirement that it be a 'first tier' stadium, or one that's in the top 25 percent of all" NFL venues. Rams Owner Stan Kroenke called the chance to play games in London "a tremendous honor for our franchise." The CVC manages the Dome, and it is "responsible for negotiating 'first tier' improvements that would keep the lease in force through 2025." The CVC's BOD met Wednesday, and a board member said that the lease "was scheduled to be discussed." The issue did "not come up during the public part of the meeting." The board met in a closed session for "about 20 minutes, but the CVC would not say what was discussed." The board is "not scheduled to meet again before the Wednesday deadline for giving its Dome improvement plan to the Rams" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/28). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said, "This is going to be the subject probably of negotiation, possibly litigation, but at a time when there are bigger issues between St. Louis and the Rams … this isn't the kind of thing that sets the right tone for any efforts to find a way to keep the Rams in St. Louis for the long haul” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 1/27).
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