Rams Relocation Process to Cover Players’ Moving Costs

rams relocationTaking a look at the Rams relocation process

The former St. Louis Rams are now the Los Angeles Rams and while the relocation will certainly be a costly venture for the team, the move to the West Coast will not be nearly as expensive for the players.

The Rams’ move to California will be a financial boon for the NFL – at least, that is the hope behind the owners’ decision to approve the team’s relocation. Stan Kroenke, the Rams’ owner, also hopes the move will in the long term provide a fiscal boost for his team but the relocation will be an expensive task. The NFL relocation fee alone has been pegged at around $650 million to be paid over a decade or more. Then there is the nearly $2 billion cost of building the ambitious stadium that will house the Los Angeles Rams. The team won’t move into the Inglewood stadium until 2019.

Pros and cons of the move

Of course, there are advantages to moving to Los Angeles. For example, there will probably be many more people interested in season tickets and suites.

Still, that is a lot of money that the Rams and Kroenke will have to fork over to various parties to make the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles. However, the cost of the stadium and relocation fee are not the only expenses required.

Any move for work will require the employee to pay the cost of relocation. It isn’t free to switch offices from Missouri to California. Employers will often help relocating employees reimburse. the cost of such a move. It turns out, the NFL collective bargaining agreement includes similar rules that apply to trades and, much less frequently, to relocations. The same wasn’t true in 1995, when the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens, players had to cover the cost of the move themselves. For lower-paid individuals, this turned out to be a significant financial burden.

CBA qualifications

The 2011 CBA includes protections against this. Players don’t typically have control over a trade, and as far as relocation goes, the move is all up to the owners. As a result, it wouldn’t be fair to players to have to cover the cost of moving themselves. The CBA outlines two qualifications that would require reimbursement for moving players:

  1. A veteran player who is “traded, claimed or assigned in an expansion allocation” or whose team moves to a new home – such as the Rams – before the first regular season game of the subsequent league year who “takes up residence” in the new location.
  2. A rookie player who is traded or claimed after the start of the regular season and makes the active list of the new club who “takes up permanent residence” in the home location of the new organization prior to the beginning of the subsequent season.

The first qualification certainly applies to many players who are a part of the Los Angeles Rams organization. The team will be required to pay certain travel and living expenses for the players who end up permanently moving to the Los Angeles area.

If you’re a relocating NFL player and have concerns about who will cover what costs, speak with an experienced sports law attorney for advice.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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