SBD/February 1, 2012/Franchises

St. Louis Reporters Debate Over Possibility Of Rams Returning To L.A.

Speculation surrounds whether Rams will move to L.A. if Kroenke buys Dodgers
Today is the deadline for the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission to tell the Rams its plans to upgrade Edward Jones Dome, and several ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH writers discussed the topic of Rams Owner Stan Kroenke potentially relocating the team to L.A. if the dome renovations do not meet the terms of the team's lease. Roger Hensley asks, "Given Kroenke’s new interest in the Dodgers and his silence on the Dome issue, what does your gut tell you: Will the Rams remain in St. Louis for the foreseeable future or do you see the franchise relocating in a few years?" Jim Thomas wrote, "It comes down to how committed Stan Kroenke is to this market, and I don’t have the answer to that. Because there is, in fact, no realistic way that St. Louis can meet first-tier requirements, you might as well talk about building a new stadium for those kind of dollars. The other factor is how ready really is Los Angeles to build a new stadium for an NFL team?" Tom Timmermann wrote, "What I see is another team moving to Los Angeles and while the league probably wouldn’t object to two teams there, being Team 2 isn’t as good as being Team 1. If by the time the Rams’ lease is up and no other team has moved to the City of Angels, I think the Rams will head back home." Kathleen Nelson wrote, "Stan is just being a good businessman, getting his ducks in a row and using his considerable leverage to get as much as he can from whomever. The city fathers already lost one NFL franchise. The damage to the city’s reputation if it lost a second would be devastating." Joe Lyons: "Above all else, Kroenke is a businessman and I’m afraid it’s going to take some hefty incentives to keep [him] here" (STLTODAY.com, 2/1). In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell wrote Kroenke is "not the bad guy, just the one with most of the leverage -- and he's not afraid to use it." This issue really is "less about Kroenke and the Rams and a lot more about someone making a great decision that will transform the St. Louis region back into a blue-chip municipality again." It is "not about 2012 or 2014, and anyone who thinks that way is lost." This negotiation is about St. Louis "10 years from now, 15 years from now, 25 years from now" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/31).

KROENKE'S DODGERS BID ALL ABOUT L.A.: In L.A., T.J. Simers writes if outgoing Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt picks Kroenke as the Dodgers' winning bidder, McCourt "does something that Eli Broad, Ed Roski, Mayor Riordan, Peter O'Malley and so many others could not do." He "not only brings the NFL back to town, but he gives fans here the Rams again." There is "no other reason for Kroenke to bid on the Dodgers, even though there are NFL rules that prevent an owner from owning a baseball team in one city and a football team in another." Kroenke is also friends with AEG Chair Phil Anschutz, who is "working on a plan to open a football stadium here [in L.A.] in time for the 2016 season" (L.A. TIMES, 2/1).
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