Nov 24, 2021 - Sports

NFL to settle lawsuit over Los Angeles Rams' relocation

Rams owner Stanley Kroenke. Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

The NFL has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the city and county of St. Louis over the Rams' relocation to Los Angeles in 2016, a league spokesperson confirmed to Axios Wednesday.

Driving the news: The league will pay $790 million, according to St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, to end the four-year dispute. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is expected to reimburse the NFL "for most or all of the settlement," the New York Times reports.

The big picture: St. Louis, St. Louis County and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority sued the league in 2017, alleging that the NFL broke its own relocation guidelines to allow the Rams to move to Los Angeles.

  • The suit also claimed that the league misled the public on its plans to leave the city and cost the city millions in revenue.

Flashback: The Rams, who was one of three teams in 2016 that applied to relocate to Los Angeles, said it was doing so because it was unable to get enough public support to build a new stadium.

  • In 2014, then-Gov. Jay Nixon had employed a task force, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that ultimately spent $18 million to design and plan a new stadium that would keep the Rams in the city.
  • But the league disregarded those efforts without explanation and team owners voted to allow the Rams to move to California, the Times wrote, citing the complaint.

Between the lines: A public trial, which was scheduled to start in January, would have involved not just Kroenke and the NFL but also the other team owners, who voted to allow the Rams to relocate.

  • With the settlement, the owners will not have to testify on how the league makes the decision that a team can move or turn over financial documents and phone records.

What they're saying: Jones applauded the settlement on Wednesday, calling it historic.

  • "This historic agreement closes a long chapter and holds Kroenke and the NFL accountable for abandoning our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appellate process," Jones said.
  • She added that the three parties would work to decide how to allocate the settlement funds.
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