The Rams are about to begin their 19th season in St. Louis after moving from Los Angeles. We discussed their stadium situation last week, suggesting the team was unlikely to make a California return even though its lease will become a year-to-year proposition in 2015.
Around the NFC West: July 16, 2013
Shane Gray, writing for 101ESPN St. Louis, has put together a compelling case for the team staying for the long term. The account matches what Rams owner Stan Kroenke would surely want the public to think even if Kroenke were scheming to move the team, but the points Gray makes are logical and persuasive, in my view.
Among the points he makes, beyond the obvious stadium issues in Los Angeles:
The NFL would rather use a vacant Los Angeles as leverage for stadium deals in its existing markets;
Expansion is a higher priority than relocation for the fees the NFL could command;
While relocation fees could also be lucrative for the NFL, the moving team would under current bylaws forfeit league-provided stadium funding;
TV revenue sharing diminishes the media allure associated with playing in Los Angeles relative to smaller markets;
Kroenke values his Missouri roots and needs the Rams in St. Louis to maximize his other businesses in the state.
None of this guarantees anything, but if there's a stronger and more comprehensive case to the contrary, I'd like to hear it. Nothing along those lines would happen before 2015 and probably longer.