(FootballStL) -- The Rams are about to begin a new season and optimism running high, but it’s still hard to ignore the fact that this team might not be calling St. Louis home two years from now.
The terms of the Rams’ lease at the Edward Jones dome allow them to move after the 2014 season unless the dome is one of top tier stadiums in the NFL, and that’s not possible without an enormously expensive rehab project.
At the moment, there is nothing being done to fix the situation. The Rams came out victorious in the recent arbitration process, but there’s no way the Convention and Visitors Commission will make the more than $700 million in renovations to the dome the Rams are requesting.
The ideal fix to the problem is a new stadium, but Rams President Kevin Demoff told me there are no current plans in the works to make that happen.
“Everybody is in the re-group phase. We need to find a new strategy, a new plan so we can come together,” said Demoff. “The frustrating thing about the arbitration process for both sides is that it was totally about making the dome first tier. It was a very narrow focus.”
It’s possible that renovations to the dome, but something less than the Rams original $700 million proposal, could make the team happy and willing to sign a new lease.
“Now that there is a larger focus, “ said Demoff, “everybody is going back and figuring out how we can make the fan experience better. When you look at stadium issues, these things take years. Some of them take decades.”
The arbitration ruling came down two months ago. For now, the Rams are in the fact finding and research phase, trying to determine exactly what the fan base wants and can afford in a new stadium.
Opinions differ on whether a new stadium belongs in the city or county, and whether it should be open air or a dome. “Until everybody in the region galvanizes behind one project, it’s going to be hard to make progress,” said Demoff.