This is the text of the letter I overnighted to the NFL’s
Commissioner and to the owners of its teams, following the release of the text
of the Rams application to relocate.
January 6, 2016
In reviewing the St Louis Rams’ submission for
relocation, I was struck by multiple inaccuracies and misrepresentations of St.
Louis and our community’s relationship with the Rams.A number of them require my response.
First, the notion that the Rams put forth consistent
efforts to negotiate a solution to their stadium situation dating back to 2002
was most disturbing.I have been Mayor
St. Louis since then and I – to this day – cannot ever
remember meeting Stan Kroenke, much less engaging with him in any conversations
about the future of NFL football in
not for lack of trying.As mayor, I've
attended Rams games, civic functions, and regional events.It contrasts with my warm relationship with
Georgia Frontiere, with whom I had a very strong professional
relationship.I could pick up the phone
and call her and she could call me.I
have a relationship with the CEOs of our City’s large, mid-sized and even many
small businesses.I have tried, as has
the governor and others in St. Louis, to engage the Rams without success.
I share this because my relationships with both the
Cardinals and Blues ownership and management teams are strong, and have been
strong throughout my entire time as mayor.This is why the City was able to work successfully with the Cardinals
and Blues to negotiate public/private partnerships that resulted in a
beautiful, new baseball stadium and a beautifully-renovated opera house.I would highly value a similar relationship
with the Rams.I know that most NFL
owners enjoy excellent relationships with their mayors and other public
officials.In fact, the entire St. Louis
community used to have a strong bond with the Rams that is sorely, and
obviously missing.But, we’d love to
As for St Louis’ viability as a market, greater St. Louis
is one of the largest economies in the country, hosting the headquarters of six
of America’s largest private companies, 19 Fortune 1000 headquarters and
ranking as the 20th largest U.S. metro area for both total employment and total
personal income.It is no coincidence
that we also rank 20th out of the 32 NFL markets in these categories, and we
rank similarly in the size of our media market, and are well below the NFL
average in terms of cost of living, which increases our market’s purchasing
Far from being “struggling” compared to all other U.S.
cities, St. Louis is experiencing an entrepreneurial renaissance, ranking first
in the world for growth in tech venture capital investment between 2013 and
2014 and being named #1 out of 14 Best Startup Cities in America by Popular
Mechanics in 2015.
In important demographic categories, St. Louis compares
favorably to Denver, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay— all cities that
support three professional teams.
Of course, I do not have to remind you that one of our
best corporate citizens has already stepped forward to buy the naming rights to
the proposed stadium.But, what you may
not know is that our corporate community generously donated well more than $200
million to renovate the grounds around and near the Gateway Arch when the
federal government could not come up with the money, and that we have one of
the country's best symphonies and best art museums.
As for our fans, they are the best— for baseball, hockey
and football.If a professional team
tries hard to succeed, wins more than it loses, and treats its fan base and
community with respect, they will go to the games.The Cardinals, Blues and at times the Rams
have demonstrated that.
As a lifelong St. Louis resident and 30-year public servant,
I can assure you that St. Louis is a nationally-recognized sports town.Our business community is strong and bright,
and I always stand ready to engage with the leadership of any business or
venture to ensure that they can prosper and take full advantage of everything
our market has to offer.To that point,
I have been and will always be ready and willing to engage with Stan Kroenke to
forge the best possible future for the Rams and the NFL here in St. Louis.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter in
more detail.While I remain extremely
unhappy at the portrayal of St. Louis in the Rams’ relocation submission, I am
hopeful – if not confident ¬ that the NFL will do the right thing.