Governor: St. Louis wants Rams

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

City and state leaders are committed to keeping the Rams in St. Louis but not at the expense of a "bidding war" with Los Angeles.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke has teamed up with the owners of the Hollywood Park site to build an 80,000-seat stadium on a 298-acre parcel of land in Inglewood, California, it was announced Monday.

The Rams are expected to convert their lease at St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome to a year-to-year agreement later this month, and if the team and the city fail to come to an agreement to build a new stadium, the Rams could move back to the area they called home from 1946 to '94.

Jeff Rainford, the spokesman for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, said Monday that the mayor believes the city shouldn't just open its wallet because Los Angeles has targeted its NFL team.

"A National Football League franchise does have value, and we should want one, but let's use some common sense," Rainford said. "The parameters are not a blank check."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon doesn't intend to let the Rams leave without providing options. League relocation rules stipulate a team must bargain in good faith and exhaust all options with its current city before a move is considered.

"St. Louis is an NFL city and I am committed to keeping it that way," Nixon said in a written statement.

In November, Nixon created a two-man committee -- made up of former Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock and attorney Bob Blitz -- tasked with the responsibility of coming up with new stadium plans by the end of this week intended to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

"The news today is another reminder of how much competition there can be for National Football League franchises and projects that include NFL stadiums, but it does not change our timeline or approach," Peacock and Blitz said in a joint statement released Monday. "It is important to remember this will be a long-term process, but one that the State of Missouri and the St. Louis region are fully pledged to seeing through.

"We are ready to demonstrate our commitment to keeping the NFL here, and to continue to illustrate why St. Louis has been and will always be a strong NFL market. We will present a plan to Governor Nixon this Friday as scheduled, and we expect that it will meet his criteria, thereby allowing us to share our vision with the public shortly thereafter. In the meantime, we will continue to have discussions with the NFL, as well as Rams leadership."

Any NFL franchise interested in relocating for the next season would have to apply between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 of that year, according to league bylaws. The earliest a team could relocate to Los Angeles would be January 2016, and that team likely would play in the L.A. Coliseum or the Rose Bowl until a new stadium is completed.

In addition to the stadium, the plans for Hollywood Park site, owned by the Stockbridge Capital Group and dubbed the "City of Champions Revitalization Project," also includes a performance venue of up to 6,000 seats while reconfiguring the previously approved Hollywood Park plan for up to 890,000 square feet of retail, 780,000 square feet of office space, 2,500 new residential units, a 300-room hotel and 25 acres of public parks, playgrounds, open space and pedestrian and bicycle access.

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers also have been reported as teams that could move to Los Angeles.

The Raiders' lease to play at Coliseum, formerly known as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, has expired, and the team is now on a year-to-year agreement. The Chargers can announce their intention to leave San Diego between Feb. 1 and May 1 of each year through 2020 they pay an early-termination fee tied to the bonds used to expand Qualcomm Stadium in 1997.

Arash Markazi of and Nick Wagoner of contributed to this report.

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