Even after Departure, Saint Louis’s Deal with Rams Gets Worse
Over the last couple of years, and especially in recent months, Saint Louis residents have gotten to know just how bad a deal regional leaders made to get the Rams to move to Saint Louis. The Rams got their moving expenses paid for, a brand-new stadium to play in, and a clause that said they could cut their lease short if Saint Louis did not spend a lot more in the future. There’s a reason the deal was described as the “worst lease ever.” When the Rams decided to use their escape clause and leave for Los Angeles, locals could be forgiven for thinking that, if nothing else, the city was at least done getting fleeced by Rams.
Sadly, the humiliation is not over yet. The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), the public authority that handled the leasing of the Edward Jones Dome, also owns the Ram’s former practice facilities in Earth City. They leased those facilities to the team for $25,000 a year. While it’s tempting, this blog will not discuss why the Rams were allowed to pay rent equivalent to that of a two-bedroom apartment for a complex valued at $19 million. Because that’s not the worst part. Apparently, the RSA signed a deal with the Rams giving them an option to buy this complex (again, valued at $19 million) for one dollar in 2024.
The RSA does not believe that the deal with Rams holds following the team’s departure. The authority is looking to sell the land to help cover the costs of the failed bid to keep the Rams. The dispute will now go to court, and residents can hope for a favorable outcome. But whichever way a judge rules, Saint Louis residents should be wary of the pitfalls of government deal-making.