St. Louis gives NFL its plan for riverfront stadium to retain team, but loan finances are issue

An artist's rendering of a proposed NFL stadium that could be built for the Rams in an area north of downtown St. Louis.

An artist’s rendering of a proposed NFL stadium that could be built for the Rams in an area north of downtown St. Louis.

(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

In an effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis, the city’s stadium task force presented a proposal Tuesday to the NFL for a $1.1-billion riverfront venue.

The Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all eyeing a potential relocation to Los Angeles, and the NFL set a Wednesday deadline for the three home markets to submit plans to retain their teams.

NFL owners are meeting in Houston on Jan. 12-13 in hopes of resolving the two-decade vacancy in the nation’s second-largest market.

The Rams are proposing a stadium in Inglewood, and the Chargers and Raiders have teamed to back a Carson proposal. It is believed that neither plan has the required 24 votes of owners to get the green light from the NFL.


The St. Louis task force, appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, said its plan calls for more than $400 million in public financing and support, and is the result of “extraordinary teamwork by multiple government agencies, business leaders and industry experts, and is the culmination of intense work” in the last 13 months.

The plan is predicated on the league providing a $300-million loan — $100 million more than has been approved by owners. In a recent letter to the task force, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the premise that $300 million will be available is “fundamentally inconsistent” with the league’s program of stadium financing.

Goodell said no proposal has been presented to increase the league’s contribution beyond the current $200 million maximum, and “there can be no assurance that such a proposal would achieve the necessary support” from the 32 league owners.

In a recent radio interview, NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, while acknowledging that St. Louis was furthest along in the process, said none of the three cities had proposals that were attractive to the league.

San Diego intends to respond by Wednesday. Its plan is predicated on putting stadium financing to a public vote in 2016, which the Chargers have said is impractical and doomed to fail. The city is proposing building a new $1.1-billion venue on the Mission Valley site of the current Qualcomm Stadium. The project would include $350 million of city and county funding.

Oakland lags significantly behind the others. The city sent a letter to the NFL on Tuesday outlining its progress in exploring a new stadium for the Raiders. But in comparison to more detailed plans by St. Louis and San Diego, Oakland doesn’t have a formal proposal.

“We’re in the discussion phase” with the Raiders, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said during a news conference Tuesday. “We haven’t even entered what you’d call a negotiation.”

The three teams can submit applications for relocation as soon as Jan. 4. The Chargers have already publicly said that they will file to move the franchise.


The league’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities will meet for two days in New York next week, beginning a day after the teams are permitted to submit their relocation applications.



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