The Rams and the NFL agreed on Wednesday to pay St. Louis $ 790 million to settle a lawsuit over the team’s move to Los Angeles. The city of St. Louis alleged that the Rams violated the NFL relocation policy.
For now, there are a few answers and a lot of unanswered questions:
What does this regulation mean for Saint-Louis?
While that’s not the billions in punitive damages that some people were hoping for there, the $ 790 million is staggering. A few decades ago, it would have paid off for an entire stadium. That’s almost as much as the league paid in its concussion settlement. Without a doubt, St. Louis stuck it on Stan Kroenke and the NFL after losing the Rams, so a lot of people there feel justified.
What does this mean for Kroenke and the NFL?
They can reduce his (substantial) losses and move forward without the dark cloud of this lawsuit. The settlement is not an admission of guilt, but a clear indication that they didn’t think they would win in a St. Louis courtroom. A loss there would likely have resulted in astronomical punitive damages. Kroenke and the other league owners were said to have been required to post bond, possibly the amount of the jury trial verdict, in order to appeal to a higher court. Even then, there is no guarantee that they would win in the state Supreme Court, and even if they did, the process would take years. The Rams and the league have failed in their attempt to get this case heard in federal court. A similar case brought against the Raiders by Oakland was dismissed in federal court.
Does Kroenke get stuck with the whole tab?
The league will pay the amount no later than Christmas Eve, but the distribution of the amount owed by the Rams is undetermined. Despite conflicting reports on who will be responsible for the payment at St. Louis, league sources say no decision has been made on who will be responsible for the payment and that was not part of settlement discussions.
Kroenke has made it clear that even though he signed an indemnity agreement as part of his deal to move to Los Angeles, he doesn’t think he should have to cover all the legal bills. The owners of the Chargers and Raiders have signed identical agreements to cover “costs, including legal fees and other litigation costs” to defend the challenges of their respective moves.
As the Rams touted their stadium in Inglewood, the Chargers and Raiders joined forces to back a competing proposal at Carson. There is a belief in league circles that the discovery process in St. Louis revealed documents from another team or NFL teams explaining why the Rams were not in compliance with guidelines. resettlement.
If representatives for the Chargers and / or Raiders provided St. Louis with a means to undermine the Rams’ attempt to relocate, Kroenke would apparently have a solid argument as to why he shouldn’t have to shoulder the entire settlement.
The colony was the earthquake, but there are surely aftershocks to come regarding who bears responsibility for what.
This settlement is a devastating amount. What mechanisms does the NFL have to mitigate the impact?
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the finance committee could, if they were willing, reduce Kroenke’s sting in all kinds of ways. Among them, they could defer Kroenke’s $ 645 million relocation fee, increase the amount of debt the club is allowed to take, or incur more Super Bowls and other big events in LA. Of course, these mitigation methods would have an effect on the other teams. , so there could be a setback within the league. That said, Kroenke has powerful allies, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who points out the risks the Rams owner took and the personal fortune he spent to build a $ 5 billion stadium. and restore the NFL to LA.
How will this change the way the NFL does business?
The NFL will do everything to try to avoid one of these situations. This will likely mean more comprehensive and airtight pacts with cities trying to attract teams or sign new leases with teams they already have. Surely this is a topic that many NFL owners are familiar with: multi-billion dollar prenuptial agreements.