Rams, CVC Must Arrive at Some Compromise

So, the Rams want a retractable roof. This according to FOX 2, regarding the wish list the Rams have sent the CVC that will be provided to the public on Monday.

There’s nothing wrong with the Rams asking for a retractable roof, regardless of how much it costs. That’s the way negotiations go. One side makes an offer, and the other side asks for the moon. That’s the way it should be. Players ask the team for the moon all the time, and eventually they reach a common ground and make an agreement.

I would like to see the Rams get a retractable roof for the Edward Jones Dome, although it seems kind of far-fetched. For the two preseason games and the opener of the season, when it’s 100 degrees in St. Louis, that roof would likely be closed. For the last game in November and two in December? Closed. A retractable roof would likely cost anywhere from $150 million to $300 million. Looking at the Rams’ 2012 schedule, it would likely be open for games Sept. 16 and 30, Oct. 4 and 21, and maybe Nov. 16. With one home game in London, that would make for a maximum of six games with the roof open.

If the Rams would play 30 more years at the dome, they might get about 180 home games with the roof open. That would be between $833,333.00 and $1,666,666.00 per game with the roof open. Whoever pays that price – taxpayers or the franchise – is there any way it can be worth something like a million a game? I say no.

I’m in favor of the dome being as nice as it can be. If I were CVC Chairman Bob O’Loughlin, or Director Kitty Ratcliffe, or board members Kim Tucci, Joe Ruggeri, Patrick Hanon, James Smith, Jeffery Barone, Todd George, Mary Elizabeth Grimes, Edward Hamilton, Sammie Jones or David Robert, I would look at the quality of the building as a part of my legacy.

Why wouldn’t someone on that board want the Edward Jones Dome to be as nice as possible? It should be a showplace for St. Louis. If they care about their legacy, they shouldn’t want to be the group that loses NFL football for St. Louis again. Anyone can see that there are negatives with the Ed. The building was designed in 1987 and opened in 1995. It isn’t as nice as many football stadiums in America. And that’s the fault of the people who built it, not the people who rent it.

Not only that, but we taxpayers spent a ton of money to expand the beautiful America’s Center. Why not put that to use on game days, too? Make Sundays a day at that facility. Why not, when the weather is bad, utilize that space for fans? Indoor tailgate parties, merchandise kiosks, autograph booths and indoor concerts during the searing heat and bitter cold. It just makes sense to use the space available to generate revenue for both sides.

The Rams have some responsibility here, too. With the Vikings joining the legion of pro sports teams helping to finance their stadiums, we’re past the stage of public funding solely financing a stadium. I know the Rams’ lease says we, the taxpayers, have to foot the entire bill for the stadium. But I also know that the Rams had a contract with Steven Jackson, and negotiated a new deal that benefited both sides. They shouldn’t stick to the tack of “well, the lease says…” If they can do it for Steven Jackson, they can do it for the taxpayers of the St. Louis metro area and the state of Missouri. Like the Vikings, the Rams should be willing to pay about half the cost of the work.

Do the Rams need upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome? Yes. Do they need a retractable roof? Even I can’t say that, not at the price it would cost. But the CVC should make every effort to accommodate reasonable demands that the Rams have. And the Rams should make every effort to forge a strong partnership with St. Louis and the CVC. There’s no reason for acrimony. If I can figure it out, these two sides should be able to, too.