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NFL, Rams reach over $ 700 million settlement in St. Louis relocation case, report says

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, with Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kronke before an NFL playoff soccer game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, January 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California .

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The National Football League and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke have reached a deal with officials in St. Louis worth more than $ 700 million, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Wednesday. .

The settlement stems from a lawsuit regarding the Rams’ move to Los Angeles in 2016. The city, County of St. Louis and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority sued the NFL and Rams in 2017. They claimed the league had not honored his. relocation policy and hold good faith negotiations to prevent the relocation of the Rams from St. Louis.

The settlement also comes just before a trial scheduled for January. Earlier this month, the NFL and Rams lost their efforts to have the case tried elsewhere in Missouri instead of the team’s former home in St. Louis.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the owner of the Rams, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the other 31 professional football teams and their owners. The lawsuit claimed at least $ 1 billion in damages.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported that the parties had agreed to settle the case, noting that the amount was $ 790 million.

The NFL declined to comment and Rams representatives have not returned a request to discuss the settlement.

The NFL also risked releasing sensitive documents about the finances of NFL owners to the public if the matter got to trial. St. Louis Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh, who handled the case, fined four NFL owners approximately $ 44,000 for failing to hand over the financial documents last October. Another hearing on the matter was also scheduled for December.

St. Louis officials have asked for financial damages they claim they suffered when the Rams moved to Los Angeles. The move left St. Louis in debt on the team’s old stadium, which was built with public funds.

An exterior view of the dome at the America’s Center ahead of the St. Louis Rams 29-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Authorities alleged the city lost between $ 1.85 million and $ 3.5 million per year in collecting taxes on entertainment and tickets, an additional $ 7.5 million in property taxes and $ 1.4 million dollars in sales taxes, for a total of over $ 100 million lost in annual revenue.

The lawsuit also claims St. Louis County also lost hotel, property and sales tax revenue after the Rams moved. The impact on the state is more than $ 15 million, according to the lawsuit, which used figures from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

According to the lawsuit, officials in St. Louis have also requested a portion of the increase in value associated with the relocation of the Rams. This total exceeds $ 1 billion.

Additionally, the NFL risked the lawsuit making headlines in early 2022, concurrent with Super Bowl LVI – which will be played out at the Rams’ new residential complex, SoFi Stadium.

Therefore, settling in before that was a “smart choice,” sports lawyer Irwin Kishner told CNBC on Wednesday.

“The point is, the St. Louis court system heavily favored the hometown,” Kishner said. “Why go through years of litigation, pay millions in fees and have the uncertainty of a lawsuit? It made sense so people could focus on better things.”

Asked about the more than $ 700 million reported, Kishner called the amount “fair” but did not comment further. “We don’t know enough about it,” he said, wondering if the settlement would be paid over a period of several years or in advance.

Patrick Rishe, director of the Sports Business Program at the University of Washington, called the large settlement figure “unprecedented,” especially considering cases like this typically favor sports leagues and clubs. owners.

“If you asked sports executives or sports lawyers four years ago, ‘what do you think this case will solve? “I think most people would have said zero,” Rishe said. “So for the city to walk away with almost $ 800 million, it’s not just unprecedented, it’s going to leave its mark on every team. and every league.

“Ownership and the leagues will have to be transparent, open and follow the rules, otherwise that’s what could happen,” Rishe added.

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