Have you ever spent money on a new jersey or ballcap from your favourite team only to see the team relocate just a few years or even months later?
I know I sure did, granted it was for the Montreal Expos and I was buying it because we all knew they’d be gone soon and I knew I’d like the eventual nostalgia of it… but it seems some fans of the former St. Louis Rams may feel a little differently.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, a St. Louis judge has allowed a class action lawsuit to proceed, filed by a group of St. Louis Rams fans against the Los Angeles Rams seeking to recoup money spent on merchandise dating back to 2010; the group is also seeking to get money back on ticket sales.
The allegation from the suit is that the Rams intentionally misled fans into thinking the team would be staying thus squeezing as much as they could from the locals in the time leading up to the relocation. The Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1995, playing there for 21 seasons including a Super Bowl championship in the 1999 season. The Rams moved back to Los Angeles following the 2015 season.
This is a case worth following, imagine the precedent this could set. Depending on the penalty the Rams face (if anything at all), it could force teams to announce intentions much sooner or add a disclaimer to all merchandise sales acknowledging the risk.
Could this lead to legal action against teams who continue to sell merchandise bearing a logo the team knows will be replaced following the season but has yet to announce? How about a jersey with the name of a player the team quickly trades away?
We’ll keep an eye on this and see which way it goes, in the meantime, if you did buy St. Louis Rams merchandise between 2010 and 2016 you might want to get your name in there, you could be entitled to a few dollars.