The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission submitted a final proposal for renovations to the Edward Jones Dome to the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 17. A copy of that proposal was released on Monday. The latest vision from the CVC looks markedly different than the original proposal that was rejected by the team, but it still looks to be well off of the $700 million counter proposal from the Rams.
The most notable change from the first to final CVC proposal is a major renovation of the Dome's facade. Wider concourses with easier access would be lit by nature itself, thanks to glass panels on the outside of the building. Suites and club areas would get the high gloss treatment with updates covering everything from counters to the paint on the walls.
Premium seating changes look much different in the new plan than they did in the CVC's first version. The Aug. 17 proposal includes the addition of 3,028 club seats. The first proposal called for the addition of 1,500 club seats and four suites. The suites get a makeover in the new plan, but it does not all for any additional suites to be added.
New club seats help boost the total capacity for the Dome from 66,744 to 67,908 in the new proposal. The CVC also says that it can boost capacity to 70,000, the NFL's minimum requirement for Super Bowl seating.
Pricier seats mean more revenue, much more revenue for NFL teams, and that could be a major sticking point. A recent study of premium seating around the NFL found that only one NFL team has less premium seating than the Edward Jones Dome.
The new plan does not include a cost total. CVC president Kitty Ratcliffe told St. Louis Public Radio that the cost would still be in the same neighborhood as the $124 million price tag attached to the first proposal. She also made it clear that the CVC would not be paying for the whole thing.
Ratcliffe compared the cost of the CVC plan to the Rams' plan in the St. Louis Business Journal:
"Certainly when you compare it to the plan that the Rams have, this is just a fraction of that."
Arbitration between the Rams and the CVC is still on track to begin somewhere in the middle of the season, in late October or November. The two sides are currently in the process of picking a panel of arbitrators. From the outside, the CVC proposal looks more like the one submitted by the Rams, but the renovation is far less thorough than that one.
Another point the CVC made with its most recent proposal is that their version does not require the Rams to play somewhere else while the renovation takes place. Ratcliffe noted that the team playing somewhere else would be a violation of the lease.
It was a curious to note, given the issues around the Rams decision to play in London. Clearly, the Rams have a very favorable lease on the Dome. The CVC does not have much in the way of leverage in that regard beyond raising an issue over home games played there.
Throughout the early stage of the process, the CVC has done more than its fair share of saber rattling. That has taken several forms, from legitimate concerns over home games played at the Dome to the Mayor Slay's lackey Jeff Rainford telling Bryan Burwell of the Post-Dispatch to stick to sports. It makes you wonder about their definition of negotiating in good faith.
And, yes, the newest proposal from the CVC still has red seats in the Dome.