The NFL is to pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit over the Los Angeles Rams’ departure from St. Louis after 10 seasons.
Filed in 2015, the case accused the league of refusing to move the team to Los Angeles “until it was too late” and hastening the departure of the Rams.
The case was the most severe protest by a city against the league and the National Football League, and led to long-running litigation in a state still healing from a major economic downturn. St. Louis sued the league in December 2015, four months after the Rams announced they would not move from St. Louis.
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After the 2016 Super Bowl in Atlanta, a federal judge in Missouri cleared the way for the case to proceed with new plaintiffs. Among the plaintiffs were St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and fellow local businessmen Donald Davis and Jason Simcakoski.
St. Louis has complained that the NFL denied the Rams an offer of a public subsidy for a new stadium and pocketed $60 million of the city’s money in the agreement to move the team to Los Angeles.
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The money to pay the settlement is coming from profit margins in the television broadcast contracts the NFL has negotiated with CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. Last season, the NFL had a $3.8 billion revenue cut in network television deals with CBS, NBC and ESPN, with the average price per game increase of $75,000 to $3.25 million a game, plus a $32 million payout to the players, said industry analyst Jon Swallen.
The case “to remove the cloud of uncertainty from (the) parties” is a “really good thing for the city and a very positive sign for the prospects for a new stadium,” said Dennis Tarpley, a law professor at St. Louis University and a longtime critic of the Rams.