|Rams COO Kevin Demoff downplayed fans' fears of a team move if it can't get a stadium deal. (US Presswire)|
The Rams and the agency that runs the Edward Jones Dome began non-binding arbitration Monday over the team's future in St. Louis.
At issue is how to bring the dome to “top-tier” status as required by the lease. The dome must be among the top quarter of NFL stadiums before the start of the 2015 season, or else the Rams can break the lease and move.
Although many St. Louis fans are worried, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff indicated recently that a move could mean to the suburbs, not across the country. He told the Post-Dispatch the team's priority is to get a “first-class facility that makes St. Louis a destination for top-tier sporting events."
“I want to ease people's concerns about where we're going to play within St. Louis over the next 20, 30, 40 years,” Demoff said. “That's really the way we're looking at this.”
The sides are far apart and if they can't reach a deal, talks about a new stadium could get serious, the paper reported.
The Rams submitted a $700 million dome renovation plan featuring a new roof with a sliding panel. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission rejected it and proposed $124 million in improvements, including a requirement the Rams pay 52 percent of the cost.
|The home of the Super Bowl|
Three arbitrators will listen to the proposals and choose the Rams' plan, the CVC's plan or a new one. The sides aren't bound to follow the arbitrators' recommendation.
The Rams moved from the Los Angeles area to downtown St. Louis before the 1995 season.
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