ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission said Tuesday it has paid $2 million to the St. Louis Rams to cover the team's legal fees for the dispute over upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome that resulted in arbitration.
CVC spokeswoman Donna Andrews said payment was made May 20. Rams spokesman Artis Twyman confirmed the team was paid.
The CVC operates the dome that the Rams have played in since 1995, the year they moved to St. Louis from Anaheim, Calif. The dome was built with taxpayer funds to lure an NFL team.
The 30-year lease agreement allows the Rams to leave after the 2014 season if the dome is not deemed to be among the top quarter of the NFL's 31 stadiums. The two sides were far apart on how to get to that top-tier level, prompting arbitration.
In February, the panel of arbitrators sided with the Rams' far more expensive upgrade plan and ordered the CVC to pay the Rams' legal fees.
The CVC had proposed $124 million in renovations that included better amenities and a huge new scoreboard. The Rams didn't put a price tag on their plan but CVC and city officials believe it would cost $700 million to $800 million. The team's plan included installation of a new roof with a sliding panel, replacing much of the brick exterior with a glass front and re-routing a nearby street.
Unless the CVC implements the plan, the Rams' lease becomes year-to-year starting in March 2015. That creates the possibility that the Rams could leave St. Louis. City leaders have said it is unlikely the Rams' plan would be implemented.