St. Louis Rams and CVC Will Continue Negotiations; Terms of Arbitration Released

Justin GibsonCorrespondent IIIJune 2, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19:  General view of fans entering Edward Jones Dome prior to the game between the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers on October 19, 2003 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Packers 34-24. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) and the Rams will negotiate renovations to the Edward Jones Dome before the issue goes to arbitration on June 15, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On Friday, the CVC rejected the Rams' proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome that called for a major overhaul of the stadium. The city estimated the Rams' proposal to not only cost near $700 million, but it would essentially be impossible to hold large events during construction.

In a statement released by the CVC, the agency said it hopes to find a resolution in the middle before it goes to arbitration.

"The St. Louis CVC expressed to the St. Louis Rams that it believes that it is in the best interest of the community and the Rams to engage in meaningful dialogue over the next two weeks," the statement said, "and (the CVC) looks forward to the opportunity to do so at the earliest convenience of Rams management."

The arbitrator's ruling, which could last until the end of the calendar year, would become binding if the CVC accepts the ruling handed down.

The Rams' proposal, which can be read in its entirety online, calls for many improvements, including, but not limited to, a sliding roof panel, larger VIP seating areas, more concession areas and upgrades to the Rams' locker room and personnel offices.

Back in March, the Rams rejected the initial proposal by the CVC that outlined $124 million in stadium improvements, with more than 50 percent being funded by the Rams.

The Post-Dispatch also outlined how arbitration between the two sides will work.

If any proposals are made during talks between the two sides, it would be kept confidential, according to the lease. Either side is also permitted to give-in some to their demands without having it used against them as arbitration progresses.

The two sides will argue their cases to three arbitrators. If a compromise of who the arbitrators will be is not reached, the CVC and Rams will alternate turns of removing names from a list of 13 arbitrators selected by the American Arbitration Association.

If no deal is struck throughout the process, the arbitrators will endorse one of the existing renovation proposals or, more likely, develop a separate plan which meets first-tier requirements, according to the Post-Dispatch.

The CVC will then have 60 days to decide to accept or reject the arbitrator's ruling. If the agency rejects the deal, the Rams can either terminate their lease with the city or continue on a year-to-year basis.

St. Louis City officials said it should be of no surprise that the CVC rejected the Rams' proposal. Although, Mayor Francis Slay said on Twitter, "Now talks can and should begin" on the matter.

KSDK interviewed Robert Litz with United States Arbitration and Mediation Midwest, Inc., and he said arbitration is a cheaper and faster alternative than going to court.

"I haven't been surprised by either side. This has been a high stakes negotiation," says Litz to KSDK. "People posture in a negotiation and I think what we've seen so far is some posturing in this case."

Arbitration is expected to be completed by no later than December 31 of this year.