Yael T. Abouhalkah

If Rams leave St. Louis, Chiefs and KC feel the pain

Updated: 2013-07-16T23:21:15Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

The Rams are playing hardball with the city of St. Louis and the National Football League team might leave for .... where?

No one knows the answer to that after last week’s Very Bad News for football fans in St. Louis — and in Kansas City as well as the state of Missouri.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission announced it would not approve a requested upgrade by the Rams for the Edward Jones Dome.

The cost would have been an estimated $700 million, an outrageous sum.

True, the Rams can’t leave St. Louis until after the 2014 season. But think ahead, and the prospect of Missouri losing one of its two professional football teams is not good news for the state or for Kansas City, in a couple of ways.

First, the Chiefs lose a natural rival. Granted, the teams aren’t in the same division or even conference. However, over the years, the clubs have played each other often, and their supporters look forward to the games.

Second, and more importantly, Kansas City and Missouri lose because they are knocked down a peg in the all-important battle for attention.

Being a major league city is important in this day and age, when sports consumes so many people and takes up so many of their entertainment dollars.

St. Louis already knows what it’s like to have lost a football team; it surely doesn’t want to again become a 2 million-plus metropolitan area without a team. (That might not happen if the Rams relocate to St. Louis County, of course, but that’s far from certain at this point.)

Meanwhile, Kansas Citians have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade to renovate the Truman Sports Complex, which should help keep both the Chiefs and Royals here for the next quarter century.

Kansas Citians know the importance of major league sports, but didn’t go too far overboard in retaining the clubs.

The $700 million proposed pricetag for the Rams was far too high. The next and most essential question to be asked is this: What will it really take to keep the Rams in St. Louis?

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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