2012-2016- The Fisher Era

Five thoughts about the St. Louis Rams’ stadium proposal

On Monday, May 14, the state of Missouri released the St. Louis Rams‘ proposal for renovations to the Edward Jones Dome. The team believes that the improvements made to the venue would put it in tier-one status.

Here are five thoughts on the proposed upgrades:

Reaching for the sky

Most Rams fans expected the team to try and get the best deal with its proposal. That’s why the team’s requests shouldn’t shock anyone. The Rams want to overhaul the Edward Jones Dome so that there are retractable panels on the roof to add natural lighting. The proposal also includes a demolished and rebuilt east section of the building to allow for larger concourses and new seating, and it would also add another entrance into the dome. I like what they are trying to accomplish with these plans. The Edward Jones Dome isn’t a horrible venue, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that NFL stadiums require now. This proposal would change that.

Super Bowl?

If you take a close look at the proposal, the Rams are hoping that the stadium could one day host a Super Bowl. The team’s plan calls for additional temporary seating that would help boost the dome’s capacity to over 71,000 if awarded the game. I love that the Rams were thinking big in their proposal. Hosting a Super Bowl is good for a team’s reputation, but it has a larger impact on the city as a whole.

What’s the middle ground?

You have to think that the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Center (CVC) will reject this proposal, but where can each side come together to reach an agreement? The proposals the Rams and the CVC made are complete opposites. The CVC’s plan is a temporary fix at best. The Rams’ proposal would cost much more, but it would also erase the need for a completely new stadium. When the CVC rejects this plan, how will the arbitrator see it? I can’t wait to find out, but I suspect an arbitrator’s ruling would lean more towards the Rams’ plan. A lot of it just makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense?

However, there are issues with the Rams’ proposal. Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, noted that the stadium’s renovations would cost over $700 million. It would also require the stadium’s closure for two to three years. That would seriously harm hotels and other businesses surrounding the stadium. This is a huge problem. St. Louis holds many events in in the area, and this type of intrusive construction would drive out revenue from the city. Of course, where will the Rams play if the dome is shut down for an extended period of time? These are questions that would need answered for the plan to work.

The price tag is steep

I have to wonder if St. Louis and the state of Missouri will be willing to invest the $350-$400 million that I’d expect would be their responsibility in this deal. Taxpayers are still paying off the original stadium project from the mid-1990s, and I have my doubts about whether the city can afford more. It will be interesting to see what dollar amount the CVC will agree to in arbitration.

Derek Ciapala has been a Rams fan since he was a child and the team was in Los Angeles. His favorite Rams moments include Flipper Anderson’s 336-yard receiving night against the Saints in 1989, and their miracle 1999 run to their first Super Bowl victory. You can follow him on Twitter@dciapala.

(Originally published on Yahoo! Sports)

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