SBD/February 6, 2012/Franchises

Rams Finalizing Agreement Allowing Team To Play Games In London

Rams are scheduled to play the Patriots on Oct. 28 at London's Wembley Stadium
The Rams and the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission are "in the process of finalizing" an agreement that "would allow the team to play home games in London over the next three seasons," according to Jim Thomas of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff said that tickets "could go on sale this week." He said, "The agreement must be formally approved by the CVC and [Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority], but we are optimistic there will be a successful resolution." The Rams are scheduled to play the Patriots on Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/6). Goodell during his state of the NFL press conference Friday said the league is "going to play the London games." He added, "We hope it will be the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That's what we planned. I think it's great for the community of St. Louis to be able to get that global exposure. But there are issues that obviously are going to have to get resolved. We know there are discussions going on. We hope that will get resolved shortly and once that's resolved, we'll make decisions from there. But we will be playing in London next year" (NFL Network, 2/3). ESPN BOSTON’s Mike Reiss writes, “I'm surprised that the NFL didn't have its 'i's' dotted and 't's' crossed before announcing the Patriots-Rams game in London for Oct. 28. For a league that usually has all angles covered, it was a rare mistake. I'd still expect the Patriots to play in the game, but there is now a possibility the opponent could change” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 2/6).

LOOKING BEYOND LONDON: The POST-DISPATCH's Thomas noted St. Louis officials looking for “strong words of encouragement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the stadium lease situation didn't get them Friday." Goodell stated that the NFL “didn't want the Rams to leave St. Louis,” but also took a “relatively hard line on the ‘first-tier’ requirements in the Edward Jones Dome stadium lease.” He said, “There are lease issues ... as you know, that were articulated very clearly in the lease. Both parties are engaging in that, and their having that dialogue will allow that process to play out. And at that point in time we'll be more clear about what the issues are and what we need to do to resolve them." The CVC on Wednesday "submitted a preliminary plan for meeting first-tier requirements." Under the proposal, the CVC "would pay for 48 percent of the improvements, with the Rams" contributing 52%. The team has "until March 1 to accept or reject the offer." Sources said that the Rams are "expected to reject the offer because they will contend that $124 million isn't nearly enough to meet first-tier requirements, and that the lease terms require the CVC to pay for all first-tier renovations" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/4).

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