Rams, St. Louis CVC Head To Arbitration Over Dome Upgrades After Failing To Reach A Deal
The Rams and the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission "soon will enter less predictable territory: putting renovations of the Edward Jones Dome in the hands of three arbitrators," according to a front-page piece by Matthew Hathaway of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The CVC, which runs the Dome, voted Thursday "to begin the arbitration process." The CVC and Rams had until Friday "to reach a deal on renovating the Dome or head into binding arbitration." The arbitrators will "evaluate competing Dome-renovation proposals from the CVC and the Rams and either endorse one of the plans or create a new one of their own." If the CVC "doesn't agree to renovations that the arbitrators say are required, the Rams would be free to terminate the lease after the 2014 season -- 10 years before the lease otherwise would expire." If the Rams "terminate the lease, the team can continue at the Dome on a year-to-year basis, or just move out." The lease states that the CVC and the Rams "must make 'reasonable efforts' to finish arbitration by Dec. 31." Hathaway notes no other NFL team and city "have found themselves in this situation before -- negotiating over how to renovate a relatively young stadium and with a mandate to make it 'first tier.'" After the arbitrators "agree on a 'first-tier' plan, the CVC will have 60 days to decide its next move." It can "agree to move forward with the plan backed by arbitrators, or do nothing and allow the Rams to terminate the lease." The lease states that the cost of arbitration "must be paid by the prevailing party." It is "not clear who pays if arbitrators endorse a plan that's a mix of the CVC and Rams proposals" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/15).