DRAFT Stadium Financing, Construction, and Lease Agreement

The full draft St. Louis riverfront stadium project is below. It runs 58 pages of definitions, clauses, and financial details. Much was already known: an NFL owner is expected to put $250M into the stadium, the NFL’s loan program another $200M. The plan anticipates at least $160M in personal seat licenses (PSLs).

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The total cost to the City of St. Louis would be $207.5M. While the “City Financing Amount” remains at near today’s annual commitment, payments are scheduled to extend for 35 years, to 2051. Payments of $5M for eight years, $5.5M in 2024, and $6M annually thereafter represent cumulative funding of $207.5M. Other funding includes state payments of $10M per year rising to $12M to 2051, a total of $415M. A bond issue would convert the $158M naming rights agreement recently made to cash for stadium construction. State brownfield and MDFB tax credits would comprise the final funding component.

The math can be viewed more than one way. According to the draft proposal, the city’s contribution to the $1B project would be $145M, or just at the 15% contribution for which some supporters had been aiming. The cost to the city of paying off bonds to cover that $145M appears to be the aforementioned $207.5M. There are basically finance charges. The same as the $280M Edward Jones Dome is being paid for by the city, St. Louis County and the State of Missouri with $24M annual payments for 35 years, or $840M. The total city commitment to pay off bonds to build the Edward Jones Dome is $210M ($6M x 35yrs).

Perhaps the most interesting, though unsurprising news was relayed by David Hunn at the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Hunn writes that NFL Vice President Eric Grubman told him the NFL “considers naming rights and even game-day taxes — on tickets, hotdogs, parking and beer, for instance — revenues that belong to team owners, not to the public.” This means, in the NFL’s view, that such revenue should be credited as a team contribution to the project, and not public money. In effect, this equates to tax increment financing (TIF) for all NFL activity, because as Grubman states, “Whether on tickets or parking, that tax wouldn’t exist but for the activities of the team.”

View the full proposal here