Rams, NFL settle St. Louis on the transfer of the franchise to Los Angeles for $790 million

NS. LOUIS – NFL and Rams Owner Stan Kroenke will pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit in favor of St. Louis filed for the team’s move to Los Angeles, a joint statement from the city of St. Louis and the county said Wednesday.

The settlement does not include a promise from the NFL to grant St. Louis franchise future expansion, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN, confirming a report by St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The source told ESPN that the idea was not seriously discussed.

It is not clear how much Kroenke will pay and how much will be paid by the owners of 31 other league teams.

“This historic settlement closes a long chapter for our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our community while avoiding trial and appellate process uncertainty,” reads a statement from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executives Trang Sam.

Officials in the St. Louis has yet to determine how the settlement funds will be used, the statement said.

An NFL spokesman, in a brief statement, said the league and St. Louis “was able to completely resolve the dispute.”

The settlement, reached by mediation, ends a four-and-a-half year long lawsuit filed following Rams’ departure. Kroenke and the NFL have failed to bid for the lawsuit to be dismissed or at least moved out of St. settlement.

The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial on January 10. The lawsuit claims more than $1 billion. It claims that the team’s move has consumed the area of ​​St. Louis millions of dollars in entertainment, ticket and income taxes.

Then-owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams from Los Angeles in 1995 to her hometown of St. Louis, where they stayed for 21 seasons before Kroenke transferred them back.

Kroenke, a Missouri real estate developer who is married to the heir to the Walmart fortune, became a minority owner when the team first arrived in St. Louis. Frontiere died in 2008 and left the team to her children, who sold the Rams to Kroenke in 2010.

Not long after that, the Rams began pushing for hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to a downtown domed stadium built with taxpayer dollars in the early 1990s to attract an NFL team.

The benefits of St. Louis initially proposed a more modest upgrade, then eventually proposed a new $1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River that would be funded by taxpayers, the team and the NFL. The league and the team have stagnated.

Instead, Kroenke purchased land in Inglewood, California. SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is now home to both the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, who moved from San Diego in 2017.

In addition to losing to an NFL team, the St. Louis was extremely excited by Kroenke’s 29-page application to move before the owners meeting in January 2016 where the move was approved. The document criticized St. Louis because of population decline, questioned the economic future of the area and questioned whether it could support the Cardinals of baseball and the Blues of hockey and NFL franchises.

The 2017 lawsuit was filed on behalf of St. Louis, County of St. Louis and the St. Louis said Kroenke, other team and league officials knew as early as 2013 that the Rams had plans to move locations but lied about refusing. it. The lawsuit says the union ignored its own relocation instructions in allowing the move.

The NFL, Rams and Kroenke said the guidelines were not difficult to understand and that the federation had the power to approve a move that was clearly in the interest of the NFL and the owners of its 32 teams. The settlement comes after a string of losses in court to Kroenke and the NFL, America’s most popular and lucrative sports league.

Judge Christopher McGraugh of St. Louis Circuit ruled in July that there was enough evidence that Kroenke and others engaged in fraud, so he ordered NFL owners to disclose financial records. The purpose is to allow a jury to consider damages if Kroenke and the NFL lose the case.

Lawyers for NFL officials called the records request “intrusive,” but the Missouri Supreme Court in September upheld the lower court’s order.

The NFL and Kroenke have also sought to move the trial away from St. Louis, citing “excessive influence” over potential jurors. But McGraugh denied the request in August, a decision later upheld by the Missouri court of appeals.

Kroenke and the NFL have also unsuccessfully sought to bring the case to arbitration instead of a court.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32706415/source-nfl-settles-st-louis-lawsuit-rams-relocation-los-angeles-790m Rams, NFL settle St. Louis on the transfer of the franchise to Los Angeles for $790 million

Olly Dawes

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