ST. LOUIS, MO. (CelebrityAccess) — While the departure of the Rams for Los Angeles last month left City of St. Louis without an NFL home team, it didn't relieve them of the debt for their football stadium.
According to Reuters, Missouri taxpayers are on the hook for $144 million in debt and maintenance costs at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has pressed the NFL to help pay off the stadium debt but so far, has not gotten a response from the league.
“The fans are being left holding the bag,” Reed told Reuters. “I think they should factor that into the total cost of the move."
Moreover, the City was not even recouping its costs, leaving the city with annual shortfalls before the team decamped for Los Angeles.
To cover costs, the city paid about $6 million for annual debt service and maintenance for the stadium but collected only about $4.2 million in direct revenues from Rams games annually, according to the Mayor's office, Reuters said. The state, which paid $12 million annually, made $12.4 million in revenues from NFL activities, Missouri Department of Economic Development estimated. The county paid $6 million annually for the stadium, however, it's unclear how much of that was offset by Rams-related revenues.
At the same time, the City is facing a significant budget crunch, with a rising crime rate, rising poverty an debt.
“We’re going to have to tighten the belt in a few places,” said Reed. – Staff Writers