St. Louis Rams team owner Stan Kroenke speaks at a news conference in January. (Tom Gannam / Associated…)
The St. Louis Rams on Thursday rejected the city's initial proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome and intend to submit their own proposal by May 1.
That's sure to spark further speculation that the Rams are positioning themselves for an eventual return to Los Angeles, a market they left after the 1994 season.
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission has offered $124 million in improvements to the dome in hopes of keeping the Rams. The franchise can break its lease after the 2014 season if its stadium is not deemed to be among the top eight in the league.
Stirring more speculation is the fact that Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has a home in Malibu, is among the bidders to buy the Dodgers. It would be against NFL cross-ownership rules for him to own an NFL franchise in St. Louis and a baseball club in L.A., although, as the NFL sees it, he would be free to own two sports teams in the same city.
The rejected improvement plan included adding a 96-foot by 27-foot video board over the field (a screen almost as large as Jerry Jones' video board in Dallas); new windows along the length of the field on both sides to allow more natural light; and a 50,000-square-foot attached building with a "Geek Suite" area for electronics buffs and fantasy football team owners.
In Los Angeles on Thursday, AEG released the results of a survey it commissioned that determined that L.A. residents "overwhelmingly" support development of a downtown football stadium, and upgrading and expanding the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The survey was conducted between March 20 and 27 by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, who polled 500 residents of the city.
The poll concluded that 72% of adult residents of L.A. support AEG's proposal to build the stadium and expand and upgrade the convention center. It also said 82% of residents within a two-mile radius of the project favor a downtown stadium, and 94% agree that AEG's Staples Center and L.A. Live have been beneficial to the city.
AEG, which is competing against an NFL stadium proposal in the City of Industry, is working on getting its proposed site entitled for a venue. Backers of the downtown proposal hope to have a completed and approved environmental impact report by midsummer.
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