Every Mayor in America Should Look at What Just Happened in St. Louis

Billy Hurst/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


For more than two decades, NFL owners seeking to finance new stadiums with public money used Los Angeles as a bargaining chip, threatening to move to the City of Angels if they didn’t get what they wanted. Now St. Louis is losing its team to LA—and it still has years of multimillion-dollar payments left on its last bad stadium deal.

On Tuesday, the league’s owners voted to let the St. Louis Rams move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and to build what’s supposed to be the NFL’s biggest stadium on the site of a one-time racetrack. (The NFL also gave the San Diego Chargers a year to decide whether to join the Rams or work out a new stadium deal, and promised $100 million to the Chargers and Oakland Raiders if they stay put in their respective markets.) Los Angeles officials already have lauded the Rams’ homecoming as an economic boost to the region; the state-of-the-art stadium in Inglewood, expected to open in 2019, could cost upwards of $3 billion, with the Rams likely playing in the Coliseum until then.

Meanwhile, the city and county of St. Louis will still pay at least $6 million apiece per year until 2021 to pay off bonds sold to construct and maintain the Edward Jones Dome, which opened in 1995. (The Rams paid a meager $500,000 per year to use the dome.) And then there’s the more than $3 million in public funds used to develop a $1 billion riverfront stadium proposal to keep the Rams—a pitch NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell knocked as “inadequate” and “unsatisfactory.”

St. Louis officials have been quick to note that the city is searching for new tenants for year-round use and would review how much the loss will affect the area’s finances. They won’t, however, be looking for a new NFL franchise: Mayor Francis Slay told reporters Wednesday that the city is turning its back on the league, once and for all.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate