The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, as well as the City and County of St. Louis, claims the league did not abide by its relocation policy when the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 2016. The 2017 lawsuit involving the move is listed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City.
Lawyers representing the NFL, the Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke filed an appeal on Oct. 1 to move their January 2022 trial out of St. Louis, citing “prejudicial effects of extensive pretrial publicity.” A judge already denied the Rams’ request for a change in venue in August.
In that trial set for January, documents about NFL owners’ finances could become public.
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This is where Jones comes in.
The lawsuit alleges that Jones and Kroenke conspired to get the Rams to L.A. and have other owners across the league approve the move. The two owners had conversations about site plans for Inglewood, Calif. -- where the Rams’ and Los Angeles Chargers’ joint stadium, SoFi Stadium, is located -- as far back as 2013, according to allegations in the lawsuit.
SoFi Stadium’s 20-year naming rights deal was negotiated by Legends, a company owned by Jones. The Cowboys owner was in the building for the first live event at the building, a season-opening Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Rams on Sept. 13, 2020, and was there less than three weeks ago for the Cowboys’ Week 2 win over the Chargers.
The lawsuit said the Rams failed to hold good faith negotiations with St. Louis about potentially staying. The city said it wanted a new stadium, but Kroenke did not meet with Mayor Francis Slay or then-Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to discuss potential venue plans in St. Louis.
City officials want the NFL to pay for some of the economic damage that came with losing an NFL franchise. The lawsuit alleges St. Louis lost between $1.85 million and $3.5 million per year in amusement and ticket tax collections, roughly $7.5 million in property tax and $1.4 million in sales tax.
NFL owners voted to relocate the Rams to Los Angeles in January 2016. It was the second time that St. Louis had lost an NFL franchise after the Cardinals moved to Arizona ahead of the 1988 season. As part of the 2016 announcement, the Rams had to share a stadium with the Chargers.
Neither the Rams nor the Chargers were able to move to Inglewood right away. The Rams played at the L.A. Coliseum from 2016 to 2019 after leaving St. Louis. The Chargers, meanwhile, played home games at the 27,000-capacity Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., from 2017 to 2019. Both teams played home games at SoFi Stadium in 2020 but did not host fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.