ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Dozens of Rams fans gathered at Laclede's Landing Saturday morning with one goal: keeping their hometown NFL team in the Gateway City.
"We want to show the city, the state, the Rams themselves that we want them to stay here," Gary Dean, who MC'd the rally, said.
It's one of many events the group Keep the Rams in St. Louis is organizing to make sure that the team stays in town after 2015. In January, NewsChannel 5 learned that Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought 60 acres of land in Inglewood, Calif.
The Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission are hundreds of millions of dollars apart on their proposals to build a new stadium, replacing the 18-year-old Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams' contract requires that the Dome receive an upgrade to become a top-tier NFL stadium by 2015 – otherwise, the team is free to leave the city and explore other options.
Fans say the city has a monetary incentive to keep the Rams in St. Louis.
"The biggest thing is, it means a lot to the city economic-wise, there's a lot of jobs that are at stake, and at the end of the day, if we end up letting the Rams leave, after losing a second football team, I don't think the NFL's gonna put another team in St. Louis," Dean said.
Keep the Rams in St. Louis has events planned during the NFL Draft and the Cardinals home opener, and Dean says they will be at the landing become and after every home game during the 2014 season.
The Rams are the 29th (out of 32) most valuable team in the NFL, according to Forbes, with a team value of $875 million, $239 million in revenue for 2012 and a $21.1 million operating income. By contrast, the Dallas Cowboys – ranked as the most valuable team – is valued at $2.3 billion, with a $539 million revenue and $250.7 operating income.
The Rams went 7-9 in 2013, 7-8 in 2912 and 2-14 in 2011. Their last winning season was in 2003, when they went 12-4 and lost the divisional playoffs to the Carolina Panthers.
Watch NewsChannel 5 at 5 p.m. for a closer look at the movement to keep the Rams in St. Louis.