On Monday, August 13, the St. Louis Rams announced that they will not be playing a home game in London during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The team will host the New England Patriots in London’s Wembley Stadium in October to fulfill its remaining commitment to the NFL.
Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff explained the move:
“… moving forward, we believe our attention needs to be on the ongoing First Tier process,” Demoff said. “We have worked closely with the NFL in coming to this decision and remain key supporters of the international series and its’ objectives.”
The Rams are doing the right thing by pulling out of the 2013 and 2014 London games. It was never a good idea for them to make that commitment in the first place. Most St. Louis fans aren’t naïve. They understood what the team’s three-year commitment to London meant for a franchise that has a lease which could expire following the 2014 season.
That’s why the decision to cancel the home games in London makes sense. It rebuilds lost goodwill with the fans while showing the city of St. Louis that the Rams are trying to negotiate a stadium deal in good faith.
However, there is another important note to think about in relation to this announcement. If the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission are unable reach an agreement on the Edward Jones Dome, it’s possible that the team would negotiate with the CVC to be released from the current lease early. In that case, the relocated Rams would want to play all eight of their home games in their new city.
This scenario isn’t as far-fetched as it appears. The CVC would have little reason to keep a lame-duck franchise in the city for two years, especially if it were offered a hefty sum of money to let the Rams go.
That’s why this announcement is a great move for the Rams organization. It helps build goodwill with the CVC as both sides try to reach an agreement on the Edward Jones Dome. Yet it also means that the team will have all eight of its home games available if the team leaves town early. Either way, the Rams win.
(Originally published by Yahoo! Sports)