Thursday, June 12, 2014
Morning Ram-blings: Broken dome?
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- It's no secret that the St. Louis Rams are looking for a new place to play. Their lease with the Edward Jones Dome is up after the 2014 season and what happens after that is knowledge seemingly limited only to owner Stan Kroenke.
But one thing appears to be more clear with each passing day: the Rams' long-term home almost certainly won't be the Edward Jones Dome. In fact, according to a Wednesday report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the future of the dome's existence appears to be questionable in its own right.
Per the report, with each passing year, the cost of maintenance of the dome is only going to increase and the public funding for those fees are going to dry up. The report projects that within 15 years, the gap between money available and money required for upkeep will grow to around $62 million.
The issue has a direct impact on the Rams in the short term but it actually extends well beyond the boundaries of the local football franchise. The dome is used as part of a strong convention business that takes place when the Rams aren't in season. After the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission failed to reach an agreement on improvements on the dome last year, it became obvious that the team's stay in the dome will likely come to an end at some point.
In the meantime, the Rams can and likely will go forward on a year-to-year lease in the dome but it's also clear that the dome is going to require plenty of dollars for upkeep. Which then begs the question of why the Rams would either want to stay in the building on a year-to-year lease knowing it might not get the dollars to keep it in good condition or why they'd want to help pay some of the freight to keep it in decent shape knowing those dollars could be better used on a new facility?
This issue goes beyond what needs to be discussed here but the bottom line is that while this looks like yet another impetus for the team to build a new home, either in St. Louis or elsewhere, that already seems like a foregone conclusion. The only way that Wednesday's report might really matter in conjunction with the Rams is if it serves as a method of speeding up the decision making for what comes next.
A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the day with a look back in time at the Rams' final game in Los Angeles. ... In this week's NFL Nation Buzz video, I discussed the Rams' need for receiver Kenny Britt to become an asset in the passing game. ... Next, we looked at the long road that took Davin Joseph from Tampa Bay to St. Louis. ... Finally, we closed the day with a look at tackle Jake Long's thoughts on his rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery.
On ESPN Insider, Mike Sando has a list of the quarterbacks next in line for a payday.
Also at stltoday.com, Jim Thomas offers his thoughts on Long's recovery.
Columnist Joe Strauss takes a look at the team's gamble by not adding another weapon to the receiver corps.
Joe Lyons examines running back Zac Stacy's goals for Year 2.
FoxSportsMidwest.com's Nate Latsch writes that backup quarterback Shaun Hill is already at home in St. Louis.