Saturday, February 02, 2013

What Does Kroenke Want?

After a panel of arbitrators ruled in favor of the Rams on Friday, the picture of professional football in St. Louis is once again a bit cloudy. Essentially, we don't know now if the Rams will make a concerted effort to stay in St. Louis. And we also don't know whether if they do, they will choose to push for an upgrade of the Edwards Jones Dome or put the pressure on local politicians to get an all-new open-air venue. Whatever the choice, the big question will be, "What does billionaire owner Stan Kroenke want?" Kroenke, known for his close-to-the-vest style of doing business, is hard to read in any circumstance. In this story-line  he likely will be even more difficult to judge.

Personally, I'm rooting for the new, open-air stadium option. As for the fans...and what they's a sampling of reaction to Friday's ruling gathered by KSDK-TV

History tells us that the Jones Dome was built with the dual-purpose of attracting the Rams to St. Louis from Los Angeles and also satisfying the taxpaying voters with the notion that the building would also serve as an attractive venue for conventions. In reality, the dome is not serving either purpose all that well. The Convention and Visitors Commission members would tell you that the Rams occupation of the dome on key weekends in the fall and winter prevents them from attracting some of the larger conventions, and the money they would bring.

Most Rams fans, and football watchers everywhere, would say the dome is a horrendous venue for the enjoyment, and television presentation, of the game of professional football. It seems more like a large warehouse where they happen to play sports than a facility designed for the purpose of the sport.

There is already apparently serious talk about three potential sites for a new stadium. The decision on Friday by the group of arbitrators to side with the Rams in the re-modeling dispute with the CVC pushes discussion of the new stadium option to the forefront. Elected officials in Missouri are already saying that they will do what they can to work with the Rams on the new stadium idea, if that's what the Rams want. And now, again, the big question will be..."What does Kroenke want?" Because he now has the hammer.

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