St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter David Hunn has done some great work over the last year covering the machinations behind the departure of the Rams. His latest piece reveals how this city’s history of making bad deals with the team goes back to the very beginning, in the mid-90s.
Hunn writes that the 27-acre practice facility the team used for years, Rams Park, is owned by the Dome Authority but has been rented to the team for $25,000/year. That’s an amazingly low number. There are people in some St. Louis suburbs who pay more than that for their mortgage.
Worse, Hunn says that the Rams have an option to buy the park at the termination of the lease for $1 (that’s not a misprint — one dollar!) and cites the clause that says, the option “shall survive any termination of the lease regardless of the reason for such termination.” In other words, even the departure of the Rams for another city doesn’t void the ridiculously cheap purchase option.
It’s a classic example of a town that was so desperate to get an NFL team two decades ago that it made huge concessions to the team and its ultra-rich ownership. St. Louis was blind to the greed and aggressive lawyering of the Rams then, just as it was last year after owner Stan Kroenke dissed the town publicly as he moved the team to Los Angeles.
Everyone involved in making the original deal, with all of those killer stipulations, should bow their heads in shame.