Home » Blog » No Dome Funding Could Facilitate Rams Move

No Dome Funding Could Facilitate Rams Move

After the City of St. Louis pulled public funding earmarked for the Edward Jones Dome, Jeff Fisher and the Rams could be waving goodbye to the city in 2015.

After the City of St. Louis pulled public funding earmarked for the Edward Jones Dome, Jeff Fisher and the Rams could be waving goodbye to the city in 2015.

The St. Louis Rams learned this week that the public funding required to make improvements to the Edward Jones Dome would not be forthcoming, potentially opening the door for the organization to leave the city.

In a letter seen and subsequently published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Center (CVC) – the organization responsible for facility operations at the stadium – confirmed that “it would not be prudent to implement the Edwin Jones Dome improvements suggested.”

The Rams had been looking for $700 million for renovation of the stadium, which opened in 1995. Amongst the changes the club hoped to make was the addition of a sliding roof, ‘party platforms’ in the end zone stands, and a new four-sided video monitor above the field.

The CVC – which effectively operates the stadium for owners, the Regional Convention & Sports Authority Complex – had been expected to reject the Rams’ proposal, which had recently been placed in the hands of arbitrators.

The move now leaves the franchise’s future in the city in doubt.

The Rams signed an initial lease agreement when the stadium opened in 1995. A clause in the contract stated that the dome would need to be renovated to become a “top tier” stadium – one of the top eight in the NFL – both in 2005 and 2015.

Tom Brady tore apart the Rams in London last year.

Tom Brady tore apart the Rams in London last year.

Back in 2012, the Rams received some criticism for agreeing to play three ‘home’ games at London’s Wembley Stadium between 2012 and 2014 as part of the NFL International Series. With the impending discussions about the stadium upgrade looming, the front office subsequently made it a priority to prove the club’s commitment to the city of St. Louis, backtracking on its agreement to play in London.

“We’re committed to working with the city to find a first-tier solution,” Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer said at the time. “We have said we need our actions to speak louder than our words, and this action should show St Louis we care about getting this right.”

The Rams played the first London game – a 45-7 thrashing at the hands of the New England Patriots last season – as agreed but axed the remaining two fixtures.

The Jacksonville Jaguars subsequently struck a deal with the NFL and will play one game a year in London across the next four seasons.

Despite effectively pledging their allegiance to the city, St. Louis officials remain unwilling to commit such a vast sum of public money, a move that means the Rams can walk away from the contract as early as the 2015 season.

With the Rams essentially a free agent in two years, the rumor mill is already running overtime on where the club may end up. Of course, most of the talk revolves around the city of Los Angeles and the NFL’s longtime desire to bring a team back in what is the second biggest television market.

The proposed Farmers Field stadium – located on the L.A. Live site next to the Staples Center – has reportedly been given the green light and could be ready for 2016, if a team has opted for relocation by then. According to sources though, the NFL would prefer to have two teams move to and share the stadium.

The Rams could be one of those teams. The club already has an affinity (of sorts) with the City of Angels. In 1946, then-owner Daniel F. Reeves uprooted the Cleveland franchise and moved it to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The club remained there until heading for Anaheim in 1980 and St. Louis in 1995. There is a wide contingent of bitter fans though that would gladly see their once-beloved Rams stay away.

The Edward Jones Dome opened in 1995.

The Edward Jones Dome opened in 1995.

Other suggested tenants include the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, both former Los Angeles teams. The Jaguars have long been thought of as a flight-risk by the people of Jacksonville, despite owner Shahid Khan’s insistence that the team is staying. The team’s commitment to replacing the Rams as a London mainstay continues to spark the fire of this argument though.

Other sources have suggested that the NFL may add two Los Angeles sides via expansion, a risky move but one that might happen. If that was to be the case, the Rams could be headed elsewhere.

Of course, all of this is speculation and the Rams are still very much a part of St. Louis. Bernie Miklasz at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks it will stay that way.

“The Rams have little or no real leverage,” Miklasz writes in today’s edition. “There is no credible, NFL-approved stadium plan in Los Angeles. The league controls the LA market and wants to eventually collect lucrative fees to put an expansion team (or teams) there.

“[Rams owner Stan] Kroenke will have to make a deal here, and I believe that will happen.”

Despite the public funding being pulled, the Rams still have other options in the city. A reconfigured finance package – one that sees the Rams split the cost – could be implemented. Sponsors could be found to make the renovations. There’s even talk of a new stadium altogether.

While the future is uncertain for the Rams and the city of St. Louis, it certainly isn’t bleak…yet.


The Rams are no strangers to upping sticks and relocating. The franchise began life in 1937 as the Cleveland Rams before becoming the league’s first West Coast team in 1946 following a move to Los Angeles.  In 1980, the side made the significantly shorter move to Anaheim before relocating to St. Louis in 1995.

After beginning their St. Louis tenure with four home games at Busch Memorial Stadium, the Rams played their first game at the Edward Jones Dome – then known as the Trans World Dome – on November 12, 1995, defeating the Carolina Panthers 28-17. The team would go 1-3 at the stadium in its inaugural season.

The Rams are 76-67 (.518) all-time at the Edward Jones Dome during the regular season. The side is 4-1 (.800) at home during the playoffs, but are undefeated in regulation time; the Rams lost 12-5 in overtime to Carolina on January 10, 2004.

The city of Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since the end of the 1994 season, after both the Rams and Raiders departed.  The latter had originally moved to the city in 1982 but returned to Oakland after well-documented problems securing a new stadium.

This year’s NFL International Series features two games in London.  The Pittsburgh Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings on Sep. 29, before Jacksonville begins a four-year commitment to London as they ‘host’ the San Francisco 49ers.


  • 100%