Talks over Rams lease have St. Louis on edge

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Though not quite two decades old, only 10 NFL stadiums are older and some of those, such as Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., and Soldier Field in Chicago _ have undergone multimillion-dollar renovations.

The lease agreement keeps the Rams in St. Louis through 2025 _ but allows the lease to be broken every 10 years unless the dome is judged to be in the “first tier,” or top 25 percent, of all stadiums. About $30 million in publicly funded improvements persuaded the Rams to maintain the lease after the 2005 marker.

It won’t be so easy this time. Given the economy, taxpayer help seems unlikely, especially since $24 million in public money _ $12 million from the state of Missouri and $6 million each for St. Louis city and county _ are paying off the dome debt through 2025.

Even the beloved baseball Cardinals had to pay for their own ballpark when the new Busch Stadium was built in 2006.

After the commission presents its plan, the Rams have until March 1 to accept or reject the offer. Arbitration would begin June 15 if no agreement is reached, and the arbitration process could last through the end of the year.

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AP Sports Writer R.B. Fallstrom contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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