SBD/12/Franchises

RAMS MOVE TO ST. LOUIS CLOSE TO COMPLETE

     Speculation continues to grow that the Rams move to St.
Louis is nearly a done deal.  Rams President John Shaw, in Tampa
for the Bucs-Rams game, told reporters "the bulk of the work is
done, but we are still negotiating.  I'm optimistic that we will
get it done."  When asked what was holding up the sale, Shaw
said, "Ask FANS, Inc." (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
12/12).  People familiar with the negotiations said "momentum is
clearly on St. Louis' side," and that the talks have "gotten down
to the nitty gritty" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 12/10).  FANS
Inc. spokesperson Tom Eagleton told the WASHINGTON POST that he
was "very optimistic.  I think we are going to get it done"
(Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 12/10).
     NO FREE LUNCH:  Shaw did say that in St. Louis, the team
would have to pay up to $2.5M per season in taxes.  He said they
currently pay no taxes in Anaheim.  If the team decides not to go
to St. Louis, they could "stay in Anaheim for one more season and
tough it out" as Orange County and the NFL work to develop a new
stadium, according to Bernie Miklasz of the ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH.  That would give some new candidates a chance to enter
the bidding for the team (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/11).
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