St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke
The St. Louis Rams have the upper hand in negotiations over the Edward Jones Dome lease. The one most significant advantage the CVC has is in arbitration. If the CVC agrees to the plan devised by the arbitrator (technically, it's a panel of three arbitrators), the Rams would be locked into the Dome lease through 2025.
Seems easy, right? All the CVC has to do is give that plan the thumbs up and their tenant is locked into the lease. Except it's not that easy.
The arbitrator is reconciled a $700 million vision with a $124 million vision, trying to find a suitable solution in the $576 million difference. Whatever solution the arbitrator devises, assuming they do, will be an expensive one. It may not be as expensive as the Rams' proposal, but it will be expensive enough to make the CVC's acceptance of the plan no slam dunk.
The key detail in whatever results from arbitration is likely to hinge on the money, specifically who pays what and how much the public pays. The CVC will be limited in saying yes to plan that includes a hefty public contribution, beyond anything that already uses the public expenses currently going toward the Dome, as the CVC proposal does.
Optimists will hope that the two sides can reach an acceptable solution in arbitration. That may be difficult, as funding could be the biggest hurdle. If not, there are still two years to get something done. Precedent in Minnesota says that these things go right down to the wire before they get resolved.