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In this morning's ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, Jim Thomas writes that "at first blush" the Los Angeles stadium plan "was enough to make members of FANS Inc. choke," but today it appears to be "a hiccup." FANS coordinator Thomas Eagleton: "I'm much less concerned about it when I first heard about it late yesterday afteroon. I'm not all that terribly concerned with it. As I heard about it and read about it, the commissioner has developed very little support for his idea and it is just that -- an idea - - not really a firm, detailed concept." Eagleton reportedly spoke with the Rams yesterday, and said the proposal for moving the team to St. Louis "is being completed" and that a meeting with the Rams will be held around October 12 (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/4).
The NFL said yesterday that there is no concrete plan for the league to enter "into a partnership to build a new stadium that would serve as the site of the Super Bowl on a rotating basis and keep a franchise in the Los Angeles area." Joe Browne, NFL VP of Communications: "Right now, it's an idea that needs a lot of work. We just want to be able to say we did everything we could to keep football in Los Angeles. ... The next step is to discuss it further in our own office and with the clubs at some other future opportunity" (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 10/4). NO DISCUSSIONS WITH CITY OFFICIALS: Browne also said there have been "no talks" with L.A. officials about a new stadium. L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs: "Based on the little I know, I'd be totally against it. I know I'd be totally against it. We just spent a fortune on the Coliseum and it's in great shape. It would be a waste of government money. We have a stadium that's perfectly fine" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/4). L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan said from Europe yesterday that "he had no idea where the city or state would find the funds for the project" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/4). AN IDEA BEFORE IT'S TIME? The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION also reports that the stadium concept is "premature and overstated" and that "several owners" said "the idea was merely mentioned in passing" at last week's league meeting. Nonetheless, the proposal does reflect Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's "mounting concerns about aging arenas in some of the league's highest- profile cities" and reiterates his "sentiments that the NFL needs to take a more active role in the areas of stadium construction and maintenance" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/4). A DISNEY FOOTBALL TEAM?: In this morning's USA TODAY, Michael Hiestand quotes a sports investment analyst who suggests that the NFL might consider joining forces with "another heavyweight," such as Disney. Paul Much, of the investment firm of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin: "It's logical the NFL will seek a corporate partner. ... This is in southern California. And who is [the] premier family entertainment company in the world? It's the Walt Disney Company, which is already involved in sports. That would be the perfect strategic partner" (USA TODAY, 10/4). "WELCOME TO FRONTIERE LAND": Ron Rapoport of the L.A. DAILY NEWS takes a stab at sketching out plans for "the NFL's Magic Kingdom," which might include: "Frontiere-land," "The Al Davis Funhouse," "The Hall of Screaming Owners," "Statue of the Unknown Taxpayer," and "The Pete Rozelle Tunnel of Love." Rapoport on "Six Flags over Georgia": "The irony, of course, is that it was the Rams' inability to get anyone in the Los Angeles basin to build them a new stadium that prompted them [to] leave in the first place. That is why it seems so fitting that at the center of this exhibit there is a larger-than-life statue of its namesake" (L.A. DAILY NEWS/ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 10/4).