Could St. Louis end up with NFL expansion team in lawsuit settlement?

Sports

Decorator Jim McNelly prepares to fold a Super Bowl banner that was removed from the rafters of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on January 14, 2016. Signage is being removed from the former home of the St. Louis Rams after owner Stan Kroenke announced the team will return to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and will eventually play in a new stadium. The Rams arrived in St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1995, winning the Super Bowl in 2000, but in recent years have had the lowest attendance in the NFL. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS- The National Football League has not given up on efforts to get the lawsuit brought by local interests here over the Rams’ move to Los Angeles relocated out of St. Louis before the case potentially goes to trial as scheduled in January.

But as setbacks pile up on that front, you’re starting to see a wave of reporting and speculation, primarily from outlets which cover the NFL and are just now starting to report on a process that news outlets here have focused on over the last few years.

“There’s an acknowledgment in league circles of the possibility that giving St. Louis a new team could help resolve the case,” ProFootball Talk’s Mike Florio wrote earlier this week.

Ben Frederickson, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and someone who has been keyed into the dynamics of the case, says the leaks of a possible settlement involving a team aren’t coming from St. Louis’ side.

Last week, FOX2 asked the offices of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page for comment about a preference for an expansion team or a cash settlement. Both declined comment citing the ongoing litigation.

In August, FOX2 asked in a Twitter poll what the best realistic outcome of a lawsuit could be for St. Louis.

An expansion team won a plurality of the votes, followed by a verdict at trial of more or less than $1 billion.

It’s important to note that either through a settlement or going to trial, a final result is going to be years away. Any trial verdict will be tied up in appeals. Even if an expansion team is part of a settlement, it could be 5-10 years before that club takes the field, presumably as part of an expansion from 32 to 34 teams.

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