MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — St. Louis County Exec Candidate Leaves “Porchlight” on for NFL/NBA.
With the former NFL St. Louis Rams and a Major League Soccer expansion franchise declining the St. Louis region due to inadequate stadium “diggs” over the last few years, St. Louis County Executive candidate Paul Berry III seeks to end an embarrassing streak of the St. Louis region losing professional sports teams, to both large and smaller television markets. Berry outlines a pathway for St. Louis County to entice private investment to build a NFL stadium or NBA arena without St. Louis County taxpayer dollars.
“St. Louis is a Midwestern haven for professional and amateur athletics,” states Paul Berry III. “Unfortunately, the St. Louis region has a few influential elected officials that have no idea how to sell our region to professional sports leagues. Billionaires and professional sports leagues looking for expansion opportunities are looking for straightforward state and county government “blueprints” associated with their considered investment. Under current management for both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, you won’t see a billion dollar entertainment investment because entertainment or professional sports investors are looking for development partners, not flat proposals that lack both viability and creative vision.”
Berry touts the combination of effective county and state tax policy for St. Louis County businesses as a sales point to attract a NFL or NBA team franchise to St. Louis County. “The State of Missouri has the second-lowest business tax rate in the United States, and under my leadership as St. Louis County Executive, St. Louis County will not charge property tax or local earnings taxes upon the operator of NFL stadium or NBA arena.” “St. Louis County attracting either an NFL or NBA expansion opportunity will lead to private development of a state-of-the-art convention and entertainment district adjacent to NFL stadium or NBA arena. Under my leadership, St. Louis County will ramp up our entertainment and tourism footprint in the Midwest.”
Berry seeks to establish a public safety fee charge upon each paid admission for any event hosted at NFL stadium or NBA arena, and St. Louis County will retain parking rights at NFL stadium or NBA arena location to recoup St. Louis County’s commitment to parking and transportation upgrades to NFL stadium or NBA arena location. “St. Louis County will eliminate the cost of security to prospective NFL or NBA expansion franchises by charging the cost of E.M.S, law enforcement and security for each event as a public safety ticket fee,” states Berry. “St. Louis County shall maintain control of parking revenue to maintain parking structures at NFL stadium or NBA arena venue. Stadiums and arenas are being built in the United States without government money, it’s time for St. Louis County to follow the same financing model.”
Despite Paul Berry III’s commitment to market St. Louis County as an expansion option to professional sports leagues, Berry makes clear his vision for St. Louis County does not include poaching professional sports teams currently domiciled in the City of St. Louis. “I don’t think it’s in the best interest of St. Louis County, or the St. Louis region in general, for my MLB Cardinals to be anywhere other than downtown City of St. Louis, the same goes for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues,” says Berry. “In regards to the NFL and NBA, I want my public policy position crystal clear that under my leadership as St. Louis County Executive, St. Louis County will be open for business to engage in professional sports expansion opportunities come January 2019. I envision St. Louis County will be the hottest location for any investor group considering NFL or NBA expansion proposals in the near future.”
Paul Berry III also does not rule out bringing a professional soccer franchise to St. Louis County, after the failed attempt of the City of St. Louis to attract a professional soccer expansion team last year. “I see professional soccer coming to St. Louis County in the next four years, but St. Louis County is not building them a stadium either,” says Berry. “The City of St. Louis can not afford to get involved in the professional stadium finance game, and quite frankly, neither can St. Louis County. For professional soccer, I see a joint tenant agreement with an NFL facility in St. Louis County as the more likely and financially-feasible path forward. Under the same parameters I envision for the NFL and NBA, I would also be very supportive of a privately-financed soccer stadium in St. Louis County’s South or West regions.”
“St. Louis County taxpayers got taken to the “cleaners” during the City of St. Louis NFL Dome fascial, to the tune of six million dollars a year for a dead stadium property,” declares Paul Berry III. “When the NFL and NBA come back to St. Louis region, it will be a transparent deal directly with St. Louis County that puts St. Louis County citizens first. Any NFL stadium or NBA arena venue built in St. Louis County will be built with private money, and not funding secured by St. Louis County. The sweetheart deal professional sports franchises will get from St. Louis County is great government partners and the best sports towns in the United States.”
Paul Berry III for St. Louis County Parameters for Future NFL Expansion
I. St. Louis County’s involvement in funding an NFL stadium shall be limited to acquiring the necessary property in St. Louis County to build NFL stadium, to which, St. Louis County shall lease stadium land to private entity building NFL stadium for a lease period not less than twenty years after NFL stadium construction is complete and NFL team takes occupancy of NFL stadium.
II. Private entity building NFL stadium shall provide one hundred percent of all costs to design, build, maintain and operate NFL stadium with a minimum seated capacity of eighty thousand spectators, and NFL stadium facilities shall be rated during each year of NFL stadium property lease in the top twenty-five percent of all NFL stadium facilities.
III. In the event private entity building NFL stadium does not renew lease of NFL stadium property for an additional twenty years, all structures and facilities built on NFL stadium property shall be purchased by St. Louis County from private entity building NFL stadium for a one hundred dollar fee.
IV. St. Louis County shall design, build, maintain, operate and collect parking revenue at parking facilities at NFL stadium property, and parking revenue from NFL stadium shall be utilized by St. Louis County to upkeep NFL stadium parking facilities, utility upgrades and road infrastructure adjacent to NFL stadium property.
V. St. Louis County, in conjunction with City of Maryland Heights, shall provide all law enforcement and security services for events at NFL stadium property. St. Louis County Police Department shall have security control of NFL stadium facilities, and City of Maryland Heights shall provide traffic and security control of all other areas of NFL stadium property. Upon registration with St. Louis County Police Department, all St. Louis County law enforcement officers are eligible to work secondary law enforcement security shifts for events hosted at NFL stadium property (City of Maryland Heights law enforcement officers are exempt from requirement to register with St. Louis County for secondary security shifts at NFL stadium due to proposed NFL stadiums property is within the jurisdiction of City of Maryland Heights.)
VI. Every two years, St. Louis County shall set a security fee upon each paid admission ticket issued for any event hosted at NFL stadium property, which shall be set to cover one hundred and fifty percent of the projected cost of all E.M.S., law enforcement and security services for each sports or entertainment event hosted at NFL stadium property.
VII. St. Louis County shall set a lease price with private entity building NFL stadium that will account for one hundred and fifty percent of St. Louis County’s cost of acquiring the necessary property to build NFL stadium, successfully completing environmental testing of acquired property for NFL stadium, establishing utilities for NFL stadium and adjoining facilities developed by St. Louis County, any related accounting, insurance and legal expenses, and the cost of St. Louis County design and initial construction of parking facilities for NFL stadium.
VIII. Any excess revenue generated by St. Louis County from NFL stadium lease, NFL stadium parking and NFL stadium admission security fee not earmarked for use by St. Louis County to satisfy St. Louis County’s NFL stadium lease costs, maintaining an appropriate operation reserve for St. Louis County to provide the projected cost of all E.M.S., law enforcement and security services for each event hosted at NFL stadium property, and St. Louis County’s operations reserve and maintenance of NFL stadium parking facilities operated by St. Louis County shall be transferred to St. Louis County Parks Division for scholarships to St. Louis County youth residents participating in athletic, activity, after school and enrichment programs, and treatment for substance abuse for any St. Louis County resident under the age of twenty-four years of age.
IX. Private entity building NFL stadium shall be exempt from paying any St. Louis County or municipal property taxes for NFL stadium facilities during term of St. Louis County property lease agreement.
X. Private entity building NFL stadium shall agree to reserve five thousand event admissions in “nosebleed” section for each sporting event hosted at NFL stadium facilities during term of St. Louis County property lease agreement, which shall be provided to St. Louis County at no cost for disbursement to youth and young adults who participate in athletics in St. Louis County or participate in non-profit community engagement programs operating in St. Louis County. Private entity building NFL stadium shall have a paid admission capacity of seventy-five thousand patrons.