While the NFL is busy getting to the bottom of “DeflateGate”, the focus in St. Louis remains on keeping the Rams–or at least an NFL franchise in the city.
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On that note, St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. was asked for his thoughts on the issue during his team’s recent Winter Warm-Up event.
“I think it’s important for the city to have professional football here,” said DeWitt. “What’s good for the city is good for the Cardinals. There are those who say would you prefer less competition–no. Because it’s good for the community, it’s good for the area. I think whatever we can do to enhance the community and the overall area is good. Not saying we’re involved in it, we’re not. But I do follow it closely and stay in touch.”
DeWitt and the Cardinals went through something of their own stadium quandary in the early 2000’s. Discussions about moving to an East St. Louis or St. Peters location were brought up before Busch Stadium II was eventually demolished and the existing Busch Stadium III was built.
The costs of the new ballpark were said to be close to $365 million–with the Cardinals shouldering 90% of those costs while the state provided for public infrastructure costs and the city allowed a concession on admission taxes.
According to the Cardinals, over $244 million was paid to the City of St. Louis and State of Missouri in the form of taxes between 2006 and 2013.
DeWitt also shared that he has met St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke only once, maybe twice. The first meeting came when he served on the Executive Council involved in the vetting of potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers, of which Kroenke was a bidder.