In an interview with Bernie Miklasz on 101ESPN today, NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believes the league will expand and put two franchise teams in Los Angeles:
A return to Los Angeles [for the Rams] seems to a lot of people like the most logical thing, at least people outside of St. Louis.
But what Roger Goodell indicated to me on an interview just before the Super Bowl that aired on NBC was that he favored, or at least thought it was most likely, that [the NFL] would expand by two teams and put an AFC team and an NFC team in Los Angeles, like what you have in New York and New Jersey so you could have them share one stadium.
We know the cost of such a stadium in a market like that would be well over a billion dollars. You have at least 16 regular-season games a year in that one facility. Plus, the existing owners get two additional expansion fees which they share, as opposed to just letting a team use Los Angeles as leverage against their own market.
While Costas said he doesn't have a complete grasp on the financial aspect of what is going on with the Edward Jones Dome, he said he believes the league would be reluctant to have the Rams return to Los Angeles because it would ultimately go against the team's goal of putting expansion teams there:
Would they be reluctant to have them move someplace else if there is a viable market besides Los Angeles out there? No, I think their policy basically is whether it's the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars or in this case the Rams—to let them use at least the threat of moving to any viable market for whatever leverage they can use to extract the best possible deal they can. That's obviously their M.O.
The comments by Costas do reaffirm Goodell's comments that he wants the Rams to stay in St. Louis. Goodell recommended St. Louis when ultimately two expansion teams were given to Carolina and Jacksonville.
Arbitration on June 15 would be the next step if the Rams and St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) do not come to agreement on how to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams rejected the initial proposal for upgrades submitted by the CVC in March (per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). The plan outlined $124 million in stadium improvements, with more than 50 percent being funded by the Rams.
If the CVC and the Rams cannot find a resolution on how to make parts of the Edward Jones Dome a first-tier stadium, then the team could terminate its lease and move out of St. Louis in 2015.