Evidence Shows St. Louis is a Football City; Impact on Expansion
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Dan Wallach, sports betting expert and “Conduct Detrimental” co-host, tweeted out that a member of a focus group in St. Louis that discussed the city’s interest in the Rams, or if the Rams left, spoiler they did, their support for another franchise. The article, located on insidestl.com and reported by various insidestl.com members, reports focus group member, Kip Starnes, describing the atmosphere among the fifteen members as a “tailgate” to The Hollywood Casino Press Box.
Rams COO and according to Fox 2’s Charlie Marlow, “professional liar,” Kevin Demoff attended this meeting. This focus group, as described by Mr. Starnes, “looked like people were there to tailgate for the Rams, half the people in the room came in jerseys. It was pretty wild. There was passion and…people are frustrated. It [was] very difficult when you have great owners like the DeWitts with the Cardinals and Stillman with the Blues, and we [had] an owner here who [did not] give us…any hope at all. There are people who [had] a high [angst] level and it was shared among the focus group members and Rams fans.”
The way Mr. Starnes described this meeting while the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers were competing in the Los Angeles relocation derby shows that St. Louis is passionate about their sports teams. The St. Louis City FC are going to kick off their Major League Soccer presence, and should the city and the other plaintiffs receive or be asked to settle with an expansion team as a settlement piece, St. Louisans are willing to welcome that team. As reported earlier, Mayor Jones is non-committal, although she is not going to finance a stadium. If the city receives an expansion team, they better settle or persuade the jury to grant them a stadium as well at no cost to them. All financing should be provided by either the defendants, or they can ask for installments in financing, one option as an installment could be private seat licenses (PSLs), season tickets, equipment, and so forth.
Howard Balzer, former St. Louis football writer and guest on “Conduct Detrimental” described St. Louis as a football town. He provided Dan Wallach with some astonishing numbers (see second page for these numbers). These numbers show St. Louis supported the Rams, although from 2007-2011, the Rams went through their worst skid in history, 15-65. The Rams never made the playoffs past 2004, but St. Louis always had their backs. The Dome seats 66,000 and they averaged 60,200 in attendance while the Rams played in St. Louis. The fact that Kroenke and the other defendants stated St. Louis did not support the Rams is a farce.
The NFL may not offer an expansion team because they do not want to lose another piece of the pie. The owners hate splitting up TV revenue and other sources they must split among the current thirty-two teams. However, it may be cheaper in the long-term to offer St. Louis an expansion team. Should the NFL be forced or settle to pay all expenses the plaintiffs are seeking, this could impact the league severely to the point where a quarter of their revenue may be heading St. Louis’ way.
Simply put, St. Louis would support another NFL team, but be aware of the old adage: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” The NFL has fooled St. Louis twice, and as most people say, the third time is usually the charm. An expansion team seems like the logical option, but is the NFL too prideful and greedy to split the pie into a thirty-third piece?
Time will tell.
Alex Patterson is a 3L at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He played football for seventeen years as an offensive and defensive lineman. He graduated from Lindenwood University-Belleville in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Sports Management. He can be followed on Twitter @alpatt71.