NFL, Stan Kroenke settle lawsuit against Rams’ LA move to pay $ 790M

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ST. LOUIS – The NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke will pay $ 790 million to settle a lawsuit filed by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles, a St. Louis City and County joint statement said Wednesday.

No details of the settlement have been released, and it is not immediately clear how much Kroenke will pay and the owners of 31 other teams in the league.

“This historic agreement closes a long chapter for our region, secures hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities and avoids the uncertainty of the trial and appeal process,” read St. Louis Mayor Tisoura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam’s Page.

St. Louis area officials have yet to determine how the settlement money will be used, the statement said.

An NFL spokesperson, in a brief statement, said the league and St. Louis interests were “able to fully resolve the dispute.”

The settlement reached in arbitration ends the 4 1/2-year-old lawsuit filed in the wake of the Rams’ 2016 departure. Kroenke and the NFL failed to bid to dismiss the lawsuit or at least move out of St. Louis, and the courts were sympathetic to the St. Louis team’s attempt to disclose the team’s owner’s financial information – the rulings quickened to settle. .

Stan Kroenke and Roger Goodell need to figure out how much money they have on the hook after the $ 790 million settlement on the Ram’s relocation to Los Angeles.
Getty Images

The case was scheduled to go to trial on January 10. The lawsuit seeks more than $ 1 billion. The team’s move has cost the St. Louis area millions of dollars in entertainment, ticketing and income tax revenues.

Then-owner Georgia Frontier relocated the Rams from Los Angeles in 1995 to his hometown of St. Louis, where he stayed for 21 seasons before relocating Kroenke.

Kroenke, a Missouri real estate developer who married Walmart’s fortunate successor, became a minority owner when the group first arrived in St. Louis. Frontier died in 2008 and left the team to his children, who sold the Rams to Kroenke in 2010.

In the early 1990s, the Rams began to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the downtown Dommed Stadium, built with taxpayer money to lure the NFL team.

St. Louis interests initially proposed a more modest renovation, then eventually proposed a new $ 1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River, jointly funded by taxpayers, the team and the NFL. The league and team froze.

Instead, Kroenke bought land in Inglewood, California. SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is now home to both the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, who moved from San Diego in 2017.

Aside from losing the NFL team, St. Louis residents were angered by Kroenke’s 29-page petition to relocate before the January 2016 owner’s meeting, where the move was approved. The document was critical to the St. Louis population’s decline, questioning the area’s economic future and whether baseball’s cardinals and hockey blues could support the NFL franchise.

Rams football fans hold a banner, wave signs and chant
Los Angeles Rams fans eagerly await the return of the franchise after 21 years in St. Louis.
AP Photo

In a 2017 lawsuit filed in St. Louis, St. Louis County and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, Kroenke, other team officials and the league said the Rams had planned to relocate as early as 2013 but lied in refusing. It is. The lawsuit says the league has ignored its own relocation guidelines in allowing this action.

The NFL, Rams and Kroenke Guidelines are not iron-clad and said the league reserves the right to explicitly approve the interests of the owners of the NFL and its 32 teams.

Peter Joy, a professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, said the case should serve as a lesson for owners and the league to keep in mind when considering other team relocations.

“Play by the rules,” Joy said. “Keep the deal. Don’t be deceived. ”

The solution comes after a series of court losses for Kroenke and the NFL, America’s most popular and lucrative sports league.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Christopher McGrath ruled in July that there was ample evidence that Kroenke and others were involved in fraud, so they ordered NFL owners to release financial records. The idea was to allow the jury to consider punitive damages if Kroenke and the NFL lose the lawsuit.

Lawyers for NFL officials called the records request “offensive,” but the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court order in September.

The NFL and Kroenke also sought to move the trial from St. Louis, citing “undue influence” on prospective jurors. But McGraw denied the request in August, and the decision was later upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Kroenke and the NFL also failed to hear the case in arbitration, rather than in court.

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