Will dome improvements matter?

Will dome improvements matter?

Will dome improvements matter?

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by Doug Vaughn

KMOV.com

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM

(FootballStL) -- The plan the CVC presented to the Rams for improving the dome looks impressive, but will it matter to the Rams?

Bringing in natural light to the interior, a huge new scoreboard, more club seats, and constructing a 3-story building for tailgating in Baer Plaza would certainly make the dome a much better place. Whether those improvements will make the dome a "top tier" facility in the NFL is questionable.

Some of the improvements, like the size of the scoreboard, can be measured against other scoreboards in the league and be easily ranked. Having one of the largest scoreboards in the NFL would satisfy one of the criteria for having a top tier stadium. But many of the improvements aren't easily quantified, and could come down to a judgement call from an arbitrator to determine what is top tier, and what isn't.

The Rams will likely be able to find something that's not to their liking, or would rate as top tier, and therefore have the right to move out of the dome and St. Louis after the 2014 season.

My concern is that the Rams may want to move out of St. Louis regardless of the current condition of the dome. Taxpayers will be asked to fund about $60 million dollars of the entire $124 million dollar price tag for improvements. That's a lot of cash to spend on a stadium if the current occupants are working hard to find a way to break the lease and skip town. I'm afraid what Rams owner Stan Kroenke really wants is to move the franchise back to Los Angeles, where it would instantly be more valuable in the nation's second largest market.

Maybe a couple hundred million dollars more valuable. Kroenke is a businessman first. If he can increase the value of his team that much with a move to L.A., and be near his home in Malibu, I would assume he'd do that. He has said absolutely nothing so far to lead us to believe that he's committed to St. Louis, whether $124 million is pumped into dome improvements or not. 

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