ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has ruled that the NFL’s Rams must grant season tickets to some people who bought personal seat licenses while the team was still in St. Louis, even though the team is now in Los Angeles.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. also said Wednesday that the Rams must refund deposits for other people who bought PSLs in St. Louis. About 46,000 people had PSLs, which give the holder the right to purchase season tickets, for the St. Louis Rams, some at a cost of up to $1,000.
David Bohm, attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said the ruling was vindication for St. Louis PSL holders.
“The Rams tried to exit without making any payments to any of the PSL holders,” Bohm said. “They had no obligation to the fans who supported this team for 20 years. The judge found they did owe an obligation.”
In January, NFL owners approved the Rams’ move back to Los Angeles after 21 seasons in St. Louis. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Rams would appeal. A team spokeswoman declined comment, citing the ongoing litigation. Messages left with team attorneys were not returned.
The Rams argued that their move to LA terminated PSL agreements sold in St. Louis. PSL holders contended that not only were the licenses still valid, but that they also had the right for season tickets in Los Angeles.
Though St. Louis-area fans might seem unlikely to travel nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) for football games, resale of PSLs or season tickets could be lucrative once a planned $2 billion stadium in Inglewood, California, is ready in 2019.
Limbaugh’s ruling differentiates between PSL contracts sold by the Rams directly, and those sold by their ticketing agent, FANS Inc.
The FANS contract states that a relocation of the team terminates the contract. The judge ruled those PSL holders have the right to refunds, but no rights to season tickets or PSLs in Los Angeles.
But contracts sold directly by the team do not state that the PSL agreement ends due to relocation, Limbaugh said.
The Los Angeles Rams, who are playing in the Coliseum until the new stadium is ready, are 1-1 this season.