ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Rams took the first step toward lame-duck status in St. Louis and a possible move back to the West Coast, notifying the city’s Convention and Visitors Commission on Monday that they intend to shift to a year-to-year lease agreement for their use of the Edward Jones Dome.
The CVC, which operates the dome, confirmed the move Monday. The Rams referred comments to the CVC.
Rams billionaire owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture that announced plans earlier this month for an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles suburbs. Any move would be subject to approval by the NFL and its owners. The NFL has already said no moves would be made in time for next season.
Under terms of a 30-year lease agreement reached in 1995, the Rams had the ability to convert the lease to annual terms if the dome was not deemed among the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums based on various criteria. The team had until Wednesday to tell the city of its plans.
St. Louis officials are working directly with the NFL in efforts to keep football in the nation’s 20th-largest market and have proposed a new stadium just north of the dome. Kroenke has repeatedly declined comment.
Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest market, has been without a team since the Rams moved from Anaheim to St. Louis.
Kroenke bought the Rams in 2010 after owner Georgia Frontiere died. The dome is outdated mostly because so many new stadiums have been built since the lease agreement.
Prior to Kroenke’s purchase, the Rams and CVC had worked together on incremental improvements to the dome. Negotiations about a stadium overhaul began in early 2012 but sides remained far apart. The commission had proposed a new glass addition, outdoor terraces and a new scoreboard, improvements of less than $200 million, with the Rams picking up half of the cost.
The Rams countered with a more elaborate and expensive plan featuring a sliding roof that city officials said would cost at least $700 million.
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