The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission officially rejected the Edward Jones Dome renovations plan; the Rams' version won in arbitration early this year. In a letter sent to St. Louis Rams COO Kevin Demoff on July 3, CVC president Kathleen "Kitty" Ratcliffe explained their position:
"As the CVC is not the owner of the Facilities, the Sponsors have the ultimate financial responsibility for any improvements. It is my understanding that Mr. James R. Shrewsbury, Chairperson of the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, by letter dated July 3, 2013, has informed you that the Sponsors have concluded 'it would not be prudent to implement the Edward Jones Dome improvements suggested in the arbitrators’ March 20, 2013, Final Award'.
"Consequently, the CVC is not in a position to commit to the St. Louis Rams, LLC regarding the financing or as otherwise implementing such improvements."
Not to be outdone, Mayor Francis Slay's chief of staff Jeff Rainford added in his less than two cents, throwing a barbed jab at the Rams as being unwilling to negotiate:
"Everybody’s on the same page," Rainford said, via the Associated Press. "It was a no-brainer. There was nobody in St. Louis who thought that the Rams proposal was a good idea, other than the Rams."
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon offered his initial response, in what will undoubtedly be a long process:
"I will never forget the way both franchises stepped up to help the people of Joplin after the 2011 tornado, including building several new homes as part of the Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge,” Nixon added. “I look forward to hearing from the Rams about their long-term plans.”
Turf Show Times has been monitoring the process closely, and you all learned on July 1 the state government was going to take the lead in negotiations. Personally, I'm glad Rainford is out of the equation. The last time he took part in a high level meeting with the Rams, he caused a riot....
For the most part, you know this is just the middle game, right? With around a billion dollars in play, this game of cat and mouse is going to be dialed up from time to time. Which party is "the cat" is still to be determined at this stage, but my money is on Stan Kroenke. The Rams owner is no stranger to the negotiating table. While I seriously doubt the team is going anywhere, prepare yourself for the inevitable threat of the Rams considering a move. Yes, it could happen. The more likely scenario is it forces teams like San Diego and Oakland to commit to a move to the L.A. area sooner than they'd like. This is going to be interesting to watch as it develops throughout the 2013 NFL season.