In the heartland of the country sits the City of St. Louis, home of the Rams since 1995. Professional football in the city
dates back to 1960, when the NFL Cardinals moved from Chicago to
St. Louis. From 1966 until 1987, the football Cardinals played at
Busch Stadium, a multipurpose stadium in downtown St. Louis that
was also the home of the baseball St. Louis Cardinals. Throughout
the 1980s, the Cardinals (NFL) were one of the worst teams in the
league and struggled to attract fans to
Busch Stadium. Owner of
the Cardinals (NFL), Bill Bidwill, wanted a new stadium for his
team to be built in downtown St. Louis because Busch Stadium was
to small. City officials wanted to build a stadium in the city,
while county officials wanted it built in the county.
St. Louis County bought 100 acres of land along the Missouri
River, planning a 70,000 seat dome stadium. However, after years
of political wrangling over where a stadium should be built, Bidwill moved the Cardinals to Arizona and Sun Devil Stadium after
the 1987 season.
In 1988, for the first time since 1960, the City of St. Louis
lacked a professional football team. After the Cardinals
departure, officials began to seek either an expansion franchise
or get a team to relocate to the city. In 1991, the NFL announced
they would expand by two teams. Five cities were in contention for
the two teams including Charlotte, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis
and Jacksonville. St. Louis was considered a front-runner, because
it was the largest city without a football team. By the early
1990s, a new stadium-convention center was planned in order to
show the city was committed to bringing football back to St.
spring 1993 construction began on a 66,000 dome stadium in
downtown St. Louis. It appeared that the city was a lock to land
an expansion team with construction underway on a stadium. However
in October 1993, St. Louis's dreams of attracting an expansion
franchise were shattered when the NFL awarded Charlotte and
After not being
awarded an expansion franchise, St. Louis began to court teams in
other cities for relocation. Teams mentioned included the New
England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. All
three teams sought new stadiums in their respective cities.
Rams played at Anaheim Stadium, a multipurpose stadium they had
shared with the California Angels (MLB) since 1980. Owner Georgia
Frontiere wanted a new football only stadium for the Rams. By the
early 1990s, the team was unable to garner support for a new
stadium in Los Angeles and began exploring options to relocate to
another city. The Rams almost moved
to Baltimore, but since a new stadium was under construction in St.
Louis, Frontiere moved the team to St. Louis after the 1994
Construction of the
Rams new stadium in St. Louis was expected to be completed by the
1995 season, but delays forced the team to play at Busch Stadium
for several games. The St. Louis
Rams' first game at the Edward Jones Dome was on November 12, 1995.
Over 66,000 seats in three tiers circle the entire field. Edward
Jones Dome has 6,300 club seats and 125 luxury suites. The
exterior of the stadium is made up of brick and glass. Fans enter
the stadium through one of the four entry points in each corner of
the building, each with its own spacious glass atrium and
escalators. A ring of fame is located inside the stadium containing
the retired numbers of Rams Hall of Famers. The stadium has
changed names several times, from the TWA Dome to the Dome at
America's Center, to its present day name, the Edward Jones Dome.
Edward Jones purchased the naming rights in January 2002, for $2.65
million a year. It is part of the expanded
America's Center convention complex. This complex, along with
Edward Jones Dome, hosts many other events besides football,
including concerts and conventions. The stadium can be transformed into
a convention center very quickly. A "Magic Turf" system
the football field to be rolled up in an hour. The lighting
gridiron can also be lowered to make the area more unique. After
the 2004 season, the Rams installed Fieldturf and replaced the
video/scoreboards with a new High Definition one. In May 2012
the Rams proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome was unveiled.
The team's contract with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors
Commission mandates the Edward Jones Dome remain among the top
eight NFL stadiums or the team can break it's lease at certain
junctures, the next being after the 2014 season. The Rams $700
million plan includes a new roof with a sliding panel to allow
natural light to enter the stadium, expansion of the east side
to create wider concourses, reconfiguration of the seating bowl
to allow for more flexibility of non-football events, creating
party platforms and larger entrances into the dome. The St.
Louis CVC has proposed a $124 million renovation project that
would include improved club seats, a new scoreboard and other
upgrades throughout the stadium. The Rams lease at the Edward Jones
Dome ends in 2014.