NFL and Rams reach $ 790 million settlement in St. Louis relocation case

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) with Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Krohnke ahead of an NFL playoff soccer game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, January 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

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The city announced Wednesday that the National Football League and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke have reached a $ 790 million deal with officials in St. Louis.

The settlement is the result of a lawsuit involving Rams’ move to Los Angeles in 2016. The city, St. Louis County, and the Regional Convention and Convention Center sued the NFL and the Rams in 2017. They argued that the league was not following its own rules. resettlement policy and conduct good faith negotiations to prevent the Remus from relocating from St. Louis.

“This landmark agreement closes a long chapter for our region, guaranteeing our communities hundreds of millions of dollars while avoiding the uncertainty of litigation and appeals,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishawra Jones and County Executive Sam Page. statement. “The City, County and STLRSA are still determining how funds will be allocated to resolve disputes.”

The settlement also takes place shortly before the trial scheduled for January. Earlier this month, the NFL and the Rams lost their efforts to try the case elsewhere in Missouri, rather than at the team’s former home in St. Louis.

The defendants in the claim are the owner of Rams Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, 31 other professional football teams and their owners. The lawsuit demanded at least $ 1 billion in damages.

V Saint Louis Post-Dispatcher first reported settlement.

The NFL also risks leaking confidential financial records of NFL owners if the case goes to court. St. Louis District Judge Christopher McGraw, who was in charge of the case, fined four NFL owners an estimated $ 44,000 last October for failing to hand over financial records. Another hearing on this matter was also scheduled for December.

St. Louis officials have demanded financial damages they claim they suffered when the Ram moved to Los Angeles. As a result, St. Louis was left with debts for the team’s former stadium, built with public funds.

Exterior of the Dome at the Center of America before winning the St. Louis Rams 29-24 race over the Philadelphia Eagles in St. Louis, Missouri.

Elsa | Getty Images

Officials claimed the city lost $ 1.85 to $ 3.5 million annually in entertainment and ticket taxes, another $ 7.5 million in property taxes, and $ 1.4 million in sales taxes. resulting in annual revenues of over $ 100 million.

The lawsuit also alleges that St. Louis County also lost hotel, property and sales tax revenues following the Rams move. According to the lawsuit, which used data from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, damage to the state is more than $ 15 million.

According to the lawsuit, St. Louis officials also demanded an increase in the value of the property associated with the Ram’s move. This amount dwarfs $ 1 billion.

In addition, the NFL risked the lawsuit to rise to the headlines in early 2022, concurrently with the LVI Super Bowl, which will take place at the Rams’ new home complex, SoFi Stadium.

Therefore, the settlement prior to that was a “smart move,” sports attorney Irvin Kishner told CNBC on Wednesday.

“The point is that the St. Louis judiciary is very much in favor of hometown,” Kishner said. “Why endure years of litigation, pay millions in royalties and have legal uncertainty? It just made sense so people could focus on the best things. “

Answering a question about more than $ 700 million, Kishner called this amount “fair”, but did not comment on further actions. “We don’t know enough about this,” he said, asking if the settlement would be paid over several years or upfront.

Patrick Riesch, director of the University of Washington’s sports business program, called the large settlement amount “unprecedented,” especially when you consider that cases like these tend to favor sports leagues and owners.

“If four years ago you asked sports executives or sports lawyers, ‘How do you think this case will end? “I think most people would say zero,” Richet said. “So the city’s almost $ 800 million is not only unprecedented, but will leave its mark on every team and every league.

“Ownership and leagues must be transparent, open and rule-driven, or this could happen,” Richet added.

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