How the Rams "Snookered" St. Louis: Details of the "Most Scandalous" Stadium Deal in History

Categories: Community, Rams
Thumbnail image for edward_jones_dome350X200.jpg
The Rams could leave the Edward Jones Dome if the stadium isn't a top-tier facility come 2015.
Neil Demause, author of the book Field of Schemes, penned an article last week on his favorite subject: stadium-financing. The story, which originally ran in The Nation and was re-purposed on NPR, begins with his critique of a new stadium for the New Jersey Nets but goes onto cite other projects Demause views as financial boondoggles for taxpayers.

In St. Louis, Ballpark Village (or, it's lack thereof) gets a mention. But it was the deal to bring the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis that gets the most attention in the article, with a source telling Demause that the stadium lease was "probably the most scandalous deal in the country."

Check out the following excerpt:
Jim Nagourney, who spent three decades negotiating stadium deals on behalf of government agencies and team owners, describes how he helped snooker city officials as a consultant to the Los Angeles Rams, who were then negotiating a move to a new stadium in St. Louis. "We had a whiteboard, and we're putting stuff down" to demand in a stadium lease, he recalls. "I said, 'Guys, some of this is crazy.' And John Shaw, who was president of the Rams at the time -- brilliant, brilliant guy -- said, 'They can always say no. Let's ask for it.'" The result, which Nagourney calls "probably the most scandalous deal in the country," included a clause requiring the new stadium to remain "state-of-the-art," or else the team could break its lease and leave. "The city was poorly represented -- the city is always poorly represented.... We put in all of these ridiculous things, and the city didn't have the sense to say no to any of them."

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Most politicians don't care about the cost/future repercussions because it's not their money - for them it was so they could say "I helped bring the Rams to St. Louis" when they ran for re-election.


True.  But what if STL tells the Rams, Wwell, it's been fun, good luck"?  The Jags, Saints and Panthers are all in questionable stadium/financial shape as well.  There is no stadium in LA.  Where are they going to go?  San Antonio (over Jerry Jones' dead body)?  Portland (No stadium)?  Vegas (no stadium, gambling)?  

And this is ignoring the value added, if any of having a pro sports team.

Steve Kore
Steve Kore

What are you talking about?  Who cares where the Rams play for a short period of time, they can play anywhere in the greater LA area.  Not to mention, by the time St Louis tells the Rams to beat it, the Stadium will most likely have already been built for the Chargers.  Now, I'd prefer the Chargers stay in San Diego, their home of 50 years, but even if they did come to LA this wouldn't preclude the Rams from coming as well.  The new, state of the art, billion dollar AEG stadium will easily house two NFL teams.

This is not to say that LA Rams fans won't feel bad for the Rams fans from STL - we understand how bad this would suck for them.  But, the Rams were here for 49 years, for many of us they are the NFL team of our youth.  And we wan't them back!

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Daniel Hernandez
Daniel Hernandez

There are two stadiums in L.A. The Rose Bowl and the Coliseum. 

Chris Norrup
Chris Norrup

I agree with you and many others fel the same way. I would feel bad STL. fans, but we were rob of our team. And they need to come back where they belong L.A. RAMS. 

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