The St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission are heading to arbitration over what to do about the Edward Jones Dome.
The board that oversees the CVC voted Thursday to begin the arbitration process after the two sides remained far apart on plans to upgrade the dome. The CVC operates the dome and leases it to the NFL team.
The 30-year lease signed when the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles prior to the 1995 season requires that the stadium be among the top quarter of NFL stadiums in 15 separate categories. If it isn’t, the team can break the lease after the 2014 season.
The CVC in February announced a plan for $124 million in improvements that include better amenities and a massive new scoreboard. It would have required to Rams to pay for $64 million of the cost. Voter approval in the city and county would have been required for the rest.
The Rams countered with a much more elaborate plan that includes, among other things, a new roof with a sliding panel. The city estimated the costs to be about $700 million.
The arbitrators will either endorse the CVC plan, the Rams’ plan, or develop their own. The CVC will then have 60 days to decide whether to move forward with that plan or allow the Rams to end the lease.
The Houston Texans announced contract extensions for general manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the playoffs last season for the first time. The team also signed first-round draft choice Whitney Mercilus to a four-year deal. … The Rams and outside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, a starter for most of six seasons with the Redskins, have signed a free-agent contract. … The NFL will award $2.5 million in grants for new or refurbished football fields in 15 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.