The Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams, looks like a sardine can from the outside. It is silver, rectangular and completely enclosed. The experience you will find inside very much resembles the taste of the oily fish and the stench of the nasty battle between the owner, Stan Kroenke, and the City of St. Louis continues to worsen.
The Dome was built 20 years ago as a quick means of gaining an expansion team or luring an existing franchise to St. Louis. They almost landed the New England Patriots. In fact, that is why the seats are red and navy. The decision on choosing the seat colors was made when the potential move from Foxboro seemed imminent.
Currently, Kroenke has checked out. The Rams won’t stay in St. Louis unless he is forced to keep them there. The team seems destined for Los Angeles. But not so fast, as the city has come up with a plan for a new, open-air stadium along the Mississippi River. Not sure why this could not have taken place earlier, but this development and that it has advanced so far now, improves the chances for St. Louis to retain NFL football. It just might not be the Rams who they call their team.
Importantly, this is something neither the Oakland Raiders nor San Diego Chargers, the other franchises looking to relocate to Los Angeles, have been able to do in securing a stadium plan in their current cities. This is why they are collaborating on a plan in Carson, a suburb of Los Angeles and a separate plan from Kroenke’s.
Among the most antiquated stadiums in the NFL, the Edward Jones Dome is based at the southern edge in a blighted area with very little reason to visit. It represents a cheap place to see your team play on the road as tickets are rock bottom and available at far below face value. I bought a single ticket to see the Cowboys early in the 2014 season for just $15.
Kroenke, who has done nothing approaching what the league’s other 31 owners do for their teams and the community, has done all he can to have his franchise revoked. This is something that would be done by now if he were held to the standards franchisees of restaurants and other businesses are held to in their operating agreements.
If I were the NFL, I would let Kroenke build his stadium in Los Angeles, but maybe be the landlord to the Raiders and Chargers. In this scenario, Kroenke would have to sell his team to someone else, an entity or person who has a vested interest in the community and understands what it means to be a steward of an NFL franchise. It happened to Donald Sterling with the Los Angeles Clippers due to his racist remarks. Can what Kroenke has done be much different in terms of standards?
In the meantime, if you attend a game at the Edward Jones Dome, keep your expectations low. Who knows, at some point during your visit to see a game, maybe they’ll give you free extra cheese for your overpriced nachos.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is less and less in the way of worthwhile options and more and more money fans are being asked to pay for it.
One major factor in this is lack of urgency in filling orders at the counter, even when there are not lines. You will undoubtedly face waits, having to stay away from your seats longer than you expected and in the end, by fire engine-red in the face for having to wait so long, unnecessarily, and pay more than acceptable for it.
You can find $5 beers in sections 110, 111, 114, 119, 136, 140, 143 and 146.
Gamlin Whiskey House of St. Louis has short rib sliders and prime rib dip. It is tasty, but at $15, you could get two of them at a local place for the same price.
For soft drinks, RC Cola products are in their third season. You can drink 7-Up, Dr. Pepper, Sunkist Orange, and Sun Drop. A souvenir soda ($7) and a small soda ($4.50) are offered, but the best deal is the $9 bottomless soda, $2 more than two seasons ago. Really? A 28% increase in the price of what the same item was (Pepsi products in 2013) just two years ago? Pathetic.
As for other standard items you expect to see offered at concession stands, hot dogs ($6.50), cheese burger with fries or grilled chicken sandwich with fries ($11.25), or a large Bavarian pretzel with a cup of processed cheese ($7.50) are available.
On the latter, the people who operate the pretzel cart (different than the pretzels sticks you can find at the permanent stands) NEVER cook the pretzels while they are selling. These people are never prepared to sell more because they run out before halftime from not thinking ahead. For sport, I checked this out for four games in a row and they were consistently out each time.
You can do as I do for nearly every game; eat before entering the stadium. at one of the nearby restaurants or tailgate. You can belly up for much less.
It is the only stadium, arena or ballpark among the hundreds I have attended where I have fallen asleep. It is awful. In fact, if you have insomnia, consider taking in a St. Louis Rams game.
There is rarely an effective, exciting build-up leading to game time, unless you consider an empty restroom to use after tailgating all morning. The team just doesn't understand that videos and blaringly loud music which is inconsistent in appealing to the demographic of the fans is going to work.
Want more evidence the team is unplugged from putting on a good show? Check out the out-of-town scoreboard and find the logos of the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars. They are using the team marks from three years ago. Subtle, yes, bet telling.
If you are having trouble using your smartphone while enjoying the game, connecting to your fantasy team's roster to see how they are doing, good luck. The stadium advertises a company promotes their stadium Wi-Fi reputation at the overhead of the entrances and exits from the seating walkways around the bowl to the outer concourse. One problem, the stadium is one of three (yep, Oakland and San Diego are the others) which does not have and has never had Wi-Fi.
For each home game, gates open 90 minutes prior to kick-off. The field is on street level. Enter one of the four entrances and you will be whisked to the main level up an escalator. This gets you to the 100 level and those in the lower sections walk down to their seats.
Escalators take you further up to the 200 Suite Level and 300 Club Level where you will need the appropriate tickets to gain access to most of these areas, except for the Bud Light Party Zone on the north end.
One final trip up an escalator gets you to the 400 Terrace Level. The good news is that you will ascend to your seat level exclusively by escalator as ramps are only used for descending fans at the game's conclusion.
Keeping in mind the relative "temporary" nature of the Rams playing in the current building, other than the paint on the walls, there are very few elements which scream St. Louis Rams at the Dome.
On the 100-level concourse, you can see several dozen banners which include the date, opponent and an image of the greatest plays in team history like "The Tackle" from Michael Jones to preserve a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV against Tennessee or the "The Catch" by Rick Proehl to advance the scoring drive that would defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reach the NFL Championship Game. This is the only thing to making a Rams venue, nothing permanent exists.
Also on this level and at the north end at section 101-102, a special children's area has been set up where youngsters can enjoy playground equipment, bounce around and generally be appeased while at the game. Rampage, the team mascot, often makes appearances here.
Although there are Rings of Honor encircling the seating areas on two levels recognizing former Cardinals and Rams players, there is no team Hall of Fame area, no Super Bowl trophy displayed, or video gallery of team history.
On the north end of the stadium at the 200-level, the Bud Light Party Zone awaits fans who wish to gather in a sports bar environment. Thousands of square feet of space with multiple bars, eating areas, couches, televisions and views of the field to watch the live action are available to all fans. Having opened three years ago, this addition provides an attractive alternative to sitting in the seating bowl for the entire game.
There is ample space in the corner of each level, but along the concourses which hug the seating area, there is quite a bit of congestion. This will frustrate you.
During the pre-game an hour before game time, you will likely find ushers who are quick to ask those without tickets to these seating areas closest to the field to leave. Seeing the pre-game workouts is a ritual for many fans and I have only witnessed this non-fan friendly policy at home games of the Montreal Canadiens and Miami Marlins.
Another glaring absence leading up to the game was the presence of a quality pre-game event area like Seattle has Touchdown City in their adjacent convention facility. A large convention hall is converted to an indoor tailgating party with former players, football skill contests, autograph signings, live pre-game broadcasts and more fun than you can imagine. It is the best NFL experience in the entire league. In St. Louis, the adjacent America's Center and Garden Atrium could provide such an experience. The park alongside the east edge of the stadium along Broadway is a poor effort.
The Rams' players enter the field at section 121 while the visitors enter at section 106. While sitting in an aisle seat with the aisle to your right and facing the field, you are sitting in seat number 1. Most rows have at least twenty seats.
Video replay boards at both ends were recently upgraded in the last few years and provide appropriate, but not a stellar image. Electronic message boards now exist to help generate cheering platforms and perform advertising functions.
People usually spend money as a means of upgrading their lifestyle, or enjoying something for amusement. In this area where the Dome is, people go to die. It is horrible. Don't ever go there at night. And during day games, be sure it is a noon start because a late game starting after 3pm leaves you in the dark at game's end. Good luck. If you aren't wetting your pants by the time you exit the Dome and head to your car, you are braver than most.
To escape the nastiness, east of the Dome is the Lumiere Casino and Hotel. You can park there and take the underground walkway to the game. There is a park between the two and west of the elevated Highway 70 filled with sponsors booths, live music and food options. It is always packed on game day. The street between the park and the Dome, Broadway, is closed to vehicular traffic as early as three hours before game time.
Two other quality hotels are nearby. One is the Drury Inn, across the street from the southeast corner of the Dome. Another just three blocks further south is the Hilton Garden Inn. A few blocks west of the Dome along Washington is a Marriott Renaissance. All are within walking distance of the Dome.
If you are driving in, but decide not to tailgate, to the east of Highway 70, there are about a half-dozen spots to nourish your pre-game hunger. Consider Morgan Street Brewery at 721 North 2nd Street or Jake's Steaks at 708 North Second Street. These two spots offer good value and tasty food.
If you decide to not tailgate AND want cheap or free parking, but a quick bite to eat, I recommend The Dubliner at 1125 Washington Avenue. There are at least a dozen restaurants worth visiting along Washington Street just a half mile from the Dome. All are clean with very good food.
This isn't a neighborhood where you will want to hang out after dark.
With the long-held belief the owner of the team could care less, apathy has formed. I renew my season tickets based upon seeing opposing teams. The Dome has been filled with Packers, Bears and Chiefs fans for years, but now it seems fans of the Browns, Steelers and Seahawks seem to be following suit. My guess is that it is a cheap way for fans to see their teams on the road.
Don't get me wrong; I want to see the team win, but when an owner does all he can do to abandon his commitment to fans, there is hardly another way to feel but apathetic.
Park at your own risk and strongly consider light rail. Ask yourself if the risk of tailgating and leaving stuff in your car in a neighborhood like this is worth it.
If you are daring, just a block north of the stadium, the best tailgating area is a large gravel lot that for $20 per car you can drop anchor and tailgate as early as 6 AM and then walk a few steps to the game. It beats the $40 for places like New England's Gillette Stadium.
There are lots of well-behaved fans here and relatively clean, portable toilets nearby. This lot borders an elevated section of the very busy Highway 70 which runs north to south here just east of the dome. Do not park too close to Highway 70 or you might come close to being hit by a tire coming off a speeding vehicle. It happened to me.
There are many other lots scattered throughout the downtown area near the Dome and as you can expect, the price drops the further you get from the Dome, all the way down to $5 about a mile away. If tailgating is not your thing, drive to the game, but park along Washington Avenue which runs a block to the south of the Dome and west. Metered parking is free on Sundays. If you arrive in this area by three hours before game time, you can park within a half-mile of the Dome and take the easy walk to the game.
If just getting there regardless of means is of top importance, take light rail, known as Metro Link for just $2.50 each way. Take it to the Convention Center stop and walk just two blocks from the south edge of the stadium. Walk north to Gate A, the southwest corner of the Dome.
Should you need it, the ticket office is located on the east side of the stadium along Broadway, the street which is closed off to traffic three hours before game time.
Ticket prices are a good value, especially for the $45 face value ticket. I bought a single for the Dallas game in 2014 for just $15. On most days, you can find plenty of tickets available at less than face value. Even StubHub with the ability to have your ticket e-mailed to you allows for purchasing the ticket the morning of the game. Trust me; it is worth it if seeing an NFL game in St. Louis is on your want list. You can always find a cheap ticket here.
GAME PROGRAM - of the things which are top-tier, even if the stadium isn't, the program is one of the best in the league. Programs cover two games instead of one and contain everything you could want. At $5, it is a right-priced souvenir from your visit to the game.
RADIO - Play-by-play can be heard with just a few seconds of delay at ESPN 101.1 FM. Steve Savard calls the action while former Ram D'Marco Farr provides color. The signal is strong.
TEAM STORE AND MERCHANDISE - the new and improved team store is at the south end at section 126. It is large and roomy for even though most packed crowds.
St. Louis is the worst place to witness an NFL game. I have been to each of the NFL's stadiums and this is it.
Long before the St. Louis Rams arrived, their home was built and waiting for them. In an attempt to attract an expansion team after the football Cardinals left to the Grand Canyon State, City leaders built what was first known as the Trans World Dome. Because the Cardinals left when the dual-tenant Busch Stadium was deemed obsolete, city leaders determined that nothing short of building a stadium would lead to getting a team.
So built with just enough money to get a venue of bare-minimum standards, the dome was blandly constructed with no color scheme to reflect a team named for something indigenous to the area. That did not seem to matter as it was a sure bet the Gateway city would get a new NFL franchise. In fact, few people know that the team that was to be named the Stallions with a purple, black and white color scheme, similar to the Ravens with a bold, white stallion head on a black helmet.
In October 1993, decisions on NFL expansion were made. Charlotte was selected as the first of two new franchises. A delay in determining the second suitor was caused by political infighting between competing groups trying to bring a team to St. Louis and when it wasn't resolved in time, Jacksonville was selected in November 1993.
What a horrible defeat for the city. A turn to plan B involved pursuing teams in distress and leaders financially persuaded Rams team owner Georgia Frontiere, who had strong ties to St. Louis, to lure the Rams from Anaheim, California.
The St. Louis Rams, who have been varying degrees of terrible the last few years, play their home games at the Edward Jones Dome, a huge, charmless structure that crouches on the northeast corner of downtown. Fans enter this venue through a pleasant, airy lobby, but the actual stadium area is entered by navigating a labyrinth of large, nightmarish hallways that look like the crowded terminals of the average Midwestern airport. These hallways are where most of the stadium's concession stands are located. Finally, there is the dome itself, whose metallic gray roof and noise level make the building resemble a large airplane hangar, which is appropriate for a place originally called the TWA Dome. More morbid minds would surmise that the place bears a vague resemblance to a tomb, which, considering how bad this team has been lately and its ownerships' constant threats to pack up the team and move it to a more profitable area with a nicer stadium, might be another apt analogy.
The Edward Jones Dome was constructed in the early 90s, and the shifting and turbulent economic conditions of the NFL have led to this being one of the oldest venues in the sport. Unfortunately, this venue's advanced age has not added to its charms. It is lacking in character, convenience and architectural flourish.
Still, there is fun that can be had while viewing a game here. Generally, every one of this stadium's seats that I've ever plopped down in has provided me with a good view of the field. Games here feature plenty of pyrotechnics, cheerleaders and entertainment to distract the casual fan from the generally horrible level of play that the home team displays on the field. The noise level in this stadium is very impressive, during the few occasions that the Rams actually give their shrinking fan base anything to cheer about.
So, if you ignore the inflated ticket prices or the incompetence of the Rams, the Edwards Jones Dome is a decent place to see a football game, but the venue itself is nothing special.
It seems like just yesterday that the Los Angeles Rams packed their bags in Southern California for a move 1,800 miles east to the Gateway City in 1995. Awaiting the yellow-horned helmets and the players who wore them was a brand new stadium and tens of thousands of adoring fans deprived of pro football in their hometown since after the 1987 season when the Cardinals left for Phoenix.
The Rams left behind antiquated Anaheim Stadium, their home from 1980-1994, for what is now called the Edward Jones Dome. A domed venue built with the intent of luring an existing team (the New England Patriots) after an expansion effort failed in 1993, the stadium was built quickly without much thought beyond a basic plan. So sure was it that the Patriots would move there, 70% of the seats installed were red, a color once prominent in the Patriots color scheme. Those seats remain despite the alternative navy and gold identity of the current team.
With the facility being deemed unacceptable by Rams’ ownership, the franchise and the city are at a crossroads. For those who attend a game, it won’t take long to see why a change is needed. A smattering of temporary amenities dot the area in and around the facility on game-day. Currently, Rams ownership is holding the Dome’s owners accountable in compliance with an agreement with the City of St. Louis on being in the top tier of NFL stadiums (meaning the top 25% or top eight (8) stadiums). The Dome currently falls far short of that requirement and a process has unfolded to resolve the dispute.
After taking multiple steps in the agreed-upon process, on February 1, 2013 an arbitration body ruled in favor of the Rams $700 million proposal to tear down half the Dome and replace it as the only way to bring the Dome up to first tier status. Various city and county officials said it was unlikely that public funding would be found for such a project and the claim has been rejected by the Dome’s owners. The Rams are contractually obligated to play in the Dome until March 15, 2015 and there is no "buy out" provision to permit the Rams to move before then.
City and county officials are considering all options including construction of a new stadium elsewhere in the St. Louis area. Rams officials have indicated their preference to stay in St. Louis. My suspicion is a deal will get done for the Rams to remain in St. Louis, but play in a new stadium in either the 2016 or 2017 season. Taking an expansion city like Los Angeles off the table only serves to prevent the NFL owners from reaping revenues from expansion fees, likely to be upwards of one billion dollars, paid by expansion ownership.
Among NFL stadiums, the Edward Jones Dome remains one of five fixed indoor stadiums (Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Minnesota are the others with the latter two being replaced in the next few years). Still, with the team playing at the Edward Jones Dome, there have been some improvements to make the experience enjoyable if not as good as it should be in a modern facility. It is clear ownership is trying to strike a balance before a more permanent solution can be found.
The first place I have been kicked out of the lower section while taking pictures before the game. Food seems pretty typical, there isn't much of a pregame (although I attended on Thursday night) and the fans were pretty boring. Although prices are relatively cheap, the venue and team are not up to the NFL's standards.
Feels more like a big basketball arena than a football stadium, needs to be upgraded or replaced. Fans are not involved in the game as well, very disappointing.
Among the most antiquated stadiums in the NFL, the Edward Jones Dome stands on the southern edge of a blighted area with very little reason to visit. It is a checkmark, that symbol which you can use as you seek to achieve witnessing a game at every stadium in the league.
For several years now, the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Sports Commission have haggled over improvements needed to keep the building a viable NFL home. Among other key details, terms of the lease call for it to be in the top quarter of all league venues. It is in the lower quarter and has been for some time.
The 2015 news of team owner Stan Kroenke planning to build a venue in Los Angeles has sparked panic in the Gateway City. Is this a prelude to the Rams moving back to Los Angeles? It might be the impetus for owners dissatisfied with their current stadium situation to move there. Oakland and San Diego have to be keeping a keen eye on things. Either way, Kroenke is set, either with a new home for his Rams or as a landlord for another NFL team.
As this news was unfolding on the West coast, there was news on the St. Louis Stadium front. Local officials, with involvement from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, unveiled a plan to build a new open-air stadium, just north of the current site in a currently blighted area. The venue would be located along the Mississippi River and provide a magnificent view of the Gateway Arch to the south. If this plan goes through, construction would start in 2016 with completion set for 2020.
For now, though, there is the Edward Jones Dome and it will be home to the Rams for 2015, but possibly not beyond that season. The shame of it all, and there is blame on both sides, is that the Rams could be doing so much more to enhance the game experience with very little cost. My guess is they have lost their desire to improve anything at their current home, including the quality of the team, as it is a lost cause. What this means for visitors is a checkmark on a list or a chance to see their team play on the road, and nothing more.
Rams ownership seems to be waging a dis-information campaign that the Edward Jones Dome is a crumbling dump in order to help sway public opinion to approve the team's possible move. In reality, though, the stadium is fine --- not great, but fine, for NFL football. What's more, the official Stadium Journey review is not accurate or exaggerates on different aspects of the stadium. Contrary to the official review, the food choices are varied and good, almost every employee we came in contact with was pleasant and helpful, and the game atmosphere is fun. Bottom line is that the Edward Jones Dome is a good place to experience an NFL game, despite what others claim!
721 N 2nd St
St Louis, MO 63102
708 N 2nd St
St Louis, MO 63102
711 N Broadway
St Louis, MO 63102
1 S Broadway
St Louis, MO 63102