According to a joint statement from St. Louis city and county, the NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke will pay $790 million to resolve a lawsuit launched by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and it was unclear how much Kroenke would pay and how much would be covered by the league’s 31 other clubs’ owners.
In a joint statement, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said, “This historic deal concludes a lengthy chapter for our area, ensuring hundreds of millions of dollars for our neighborhoods while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appeal process.”
Officials in the St. Louis area have yet to decide how the settlement cash will be spent, according to the statement.
In a short statement, an NFL spokesman stated the league and the St. Louis interests had “completely resolved the disagreement.”
The settlement, achieved through mediation, puts an end to a four-and-a-half-year-old lawsuit filed in the aftermath of the Rams’ departure in 2016. Kroenke and the NFL had failed in their attempts to have the case dismissed or at the very least relocated out of St. Louis, and judges had been sympathetic to the St. Louis side’s efforts to divulge financial information about club owners – verdicts that expedited the settlement drive.
The case was supposed to go to trial on January 10th. More than $1 billion was requested in the complaint. The team’s relocation was said to have lost the St. Louis region millions in entertainment, ticket, and earnings tax income.
Georgia Frontiere, the team’s then-owner, relocated the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995, where they resided for 21 seasons before being re-acquired by Kroenke.
When the club initially arrived in St. Louis, Kroenke, a Missouri real estate tycoon married to a Walmart fortune heir, became a minority owner. Frontiere passed away in 2008, leaving the Rams to her children, who sold them to Kroenke in 2010.
Soon after, the Rams began lobbying for hundreds of millions of dollars in modifications to the downtown domed stadium, which had been constructed with government money to entice an NFL club in the early 1990s.
Initially, St. Louis groups offered a more modest improvement, but then proposed a new $1 billion stadium near the Mississippi River, which would be paid equally by taxpayers, the club, and the NFL. The league and the team both turned down the opportunity.
Kroenke instead bought land in Inglewood, California. The Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, who relocated from San Diego in 2017, currently play in SoFi Stadium, which opened in September 2020.
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