Students React to the St. Louis Rams’ Relocation
BY JIM MALVEN
On Jan. 12, the NFL’s 32 commissioners approved Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s submission to relocate his team from the Edward-Jones Dome in St. Louis to a proposed $3 billion stadium in Inglewood, California. The 30-2 decision became effective immediately, and the Rams will play their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until the Inglewood facility is ready for use.
The Rams are the hometown team for many Westminster students. To find out how they feel about the relocation, The Columns surveyed 100 students, 78.8 percent of whom are from Missouri, including 32.3 percent who said they are from the St. Louis area.
The survey showed that while 43 out of 100 students already do not watch Rams’ games, 60 percent of the same sample reported they will not watch Rams games in the future.
Given the choices “sad,” “angry,” “neutral,” “pleased” and “other” to describe their feelings about the relocation, 46 of 100 respondents chose “sad” or “angry,” with just 11 percent selecting “pleased.” Comments in the “other” choice included the phrases “heartbroken” and “dead inside,” as well as three separate statements expressing disdain toward Kroenke.
On a one-to-five scale ranking fandom before and after the announcement to relocate, participants’ fandom averaged 2.86 before the announcement and 2.26, or 21 percent lower, after.
Although support for the Rams was relatively low to begin with, possibly because of the team’s 12 consecutive seasons of failing to win more than half their games, the dip in ratings show that Rams fans are clearly upset.
Former Rams season ticket holder Riley Zack, ’19, from Fenton, Missouri, said he feels “betrayed” because the Rams left despite having ample seating and parking at the Edward Jones-Dome, as well as the necessary funds to renovate the Dome or construct a new stadium.
But, most of all, Zack said he feels this way because he supported the Rams for such a long time and now they are leaving: “[My family] supported the team for 10 years; I went to countless games, saw a lot of losses and sat there, and we end up losing our team because [of] greed in the NFL.”
Zack said he respects the players as hardworking people, many of whom contribute to charity, but he now “hates” the team and its ownership. In fact, he said he is not going to purchase any Rams memorabilia or watch any NFL games, with the possible exception of the Super Bowl.
Reflecting on the Rams’ two decades in St. Louis, Zack said the St. Louis era can be divided into two distinct periods: the Georgia Frontiere ownership, from 1979 to 2008, and the Stan Kroenke ownership, from 2010 to the present.
Frontiere’s teams (1979-2008) made 14 playoff appearances and reached two Super Bowls, winning in Super Bowl XXXIV. Meanwhile, Kroenke’s teams (2010-present) have not yet reached the .500 mark.
According to Zack, this disparity is an indication that Frontiere “really cared” and Kronke does not.
“I just don’t feel like they were run well in the latter-half,” Zack said, adding that the Rams have “failed St. Louis” with their poor on-field performance and inability to attract new fans.
However, Zack did point out that the league’s decision to let Kroenke move the franchise will save St. Louis hundreds of millions of dollars in construction or renovation costs.