The St. Louis Rams cast their relocation of three home games to London as an effort to strengthen the team's brand internationally.
The move also appeared consistent with efforts to leverage stadium improvements from the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which oversees the Edward Jones Dome.
The commission's efforts to stop the Rams from playing one game in London annually for the next three years raise two questions. Would playing in London violate the Rams' lease? And, what recourse would the CVC have to stop the Rams if the team decided to play in London anyway?
In the bigger picture, both sides are trying to leverage the situation.
The CVC knows the Rams will likely be able to terminate their lease following the 2014 season under a clause requiring the Edward Jones Dome to rank among the best facilities in the league. The Rams know playing games in London puts pressure on the CVC to meet the team's demands, whether or not such leverage is a primary reason for playing games there. The CVC has until Wednesday to outline plans for upgrading the Edward Jones Dome.
Playing in London offers financial advantages for the team.
"NFL teams that have played in London have been guaranteed ticket revenue equivalent to a sellout, plus expenses," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes.
These are the sorts of squabbles that turn off fans. They also come with the territory when large sums of cash are at stake. I have a hard time believing the NFL would schedule the Rams for London without knowing lease provisions would allow the team to fulfill its commitment.