About those relocation guidelines

With St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke intent on moving his franchise back to Los Angeles to the proposed stadium he is building in Inglewood, I get a lot of questions about the NFL’s relocation guidelines as it relates to the Rams ability to move.

Specifically, how can the Rams flee St. Louis if Missouri and local leaders follow through on their plans to help finance a new downtown stadium for the Rams?

It’s a valid question, of course. No team has ever moved from a city that has a viable stadium plan on the table. And allowing the Rams to do so would certainly seem to contradict the stipulation in the guidelines that says a team must exhaust all options in their home market before moving.

A few of thoughts:

  1. As far as the NFL is concerned, the St. Louis plan is still just talk at the moment. And while the league appreciates and is encouraged by the progress, a deal is not a deal until it’s official. In fact, I’d classify the NFL’s current stance on St. Louis as a bit anxious. Missouri leaders have put off submitting the promised deal term sheet at least once, according to sources. Any more delays would be a bad sign.
  2. According to sources, a deeper look into the guidelines reveals a stipulation dealing with what a local market might look like over the next decade. Meaning, if projected revenue streams aren’t encouraging, the team could use that information as part of their justification to move.
  3. Finally, keep in mind the guideline rules were created by league owners and not only open to their interpretation but also their ability to change and alter. In other words, if league owners decide a team moving to Los Angeles offers a better business opportunity for the franchise and the league itself, you better believe they’ll make the necessary rules adjustments. Their league, their rules.