ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- In her first interview since the city's proposed improvements on the Edward Jones Dome were rejected, the head of the Convention and Visitor's Commission is speaking out.
The Convention and Visitor's Commission runs the dome. And CVC boss Kitty Ratcliffe echoes what we heard Monday from Mayor Francis Slay and from Jim Shrewsbury, the head of the Regional Sports Authority. All say one of the biggest obstacles to keeping the NFL in St. Louis is the silence of the Rams.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke, one of the 400 richest people on earth, has refused to take any part in any of the talks about the Rams future in St. Louis.
“There really hasn't been a negotiation at all. So negotiation isn't the right word,” stated Ratcliffe. “In order to have a negotiation, two sides have to want to come to some reasonable conclusion. And that's not the process that we undertook.”
Arbitrators of course ruled that the dome needs a $700 million re-build to make it a top NFL stadium. The CVC will reject the proposal.
“It will really be up to the Rams, that will be the next step, they will have to notify us whether they want us to proceed with the arbitration panel's ruling and at that point a decision will have to be made. The decision by the arbitration panel is really untenable,” said Ratcliffe.
And once the CVC rejects the arbitrator's plan?
“Then the Rams are free to go on a year-to-year basis starting in March of 2015. And they then are basically free to start a conversation with anybody, either in this city of a different city, about a different facility,” Ratcliffe explained.
Could that means talks for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis? Consider the Regional Sports Authority has hired investment bankers Goldman-Sachs as a consultant. Goldman has been involved in financing almost every new NFL stadium in the country.
Also consider that Stan Kroenke, with a net worth of $4 billion, paid for the Pepsi Center in Denver himself, where his hockey and basketball teams play.
In London, where Kronke owns the Arsenal Soccer Club, he also owns and paid for their new stadium.
So could that mean he'd be willing to pay for a new stadium in St. Louis? It’s hard to know given Kroenke's refusal to take part in talks.
The next deadline is Friday when the Rams send their lawyer's bills for the Convention and Visitor's Commission to pay. The arbitrator ruled the CVC is on the hook for the team's arbitration legal fees. And that could amount to a couple of million dollars paid by taxpayers to the Rams.