SBD/17/Franchises

RAMS SET TO MOVE TO ST. LOUIS' "GEORGIA" DOME

     At a 3:00pm EST news conference, the Rams will officially
announce their intention to leave Southern California after 49
years and move to St. Louis, according to this morning's L.A.
TIMES.  Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere and team President John Shaw
will "join a long list of political and business dignitaries at
the news conference, during which MO-based businessman Stan
Kroenke will be introduced as the team's new minority owner.  The
deal was finished Monday night, as officials and attorneys
"celebrated with a private reception and dinner at the Ritz-
Carlton in St. Louis" (Mike DiGiovanna, L.A. TIMES, 1/17).
     ON GEORGIA'S MIND:  The move became official over the
weekend, when in an exclusive interview with the L.A. TIMES,
Frontiere expressed her disappointment about leaving:  "We
borrowed to our limit to try and keep it in Anaheim.  We've gone
as far as we can go."  Frontiere admitted she was sorry for the
fans of L.A., but added: "Maybe if they had reacted sooner, and
with some passion ... but it wasn't like that.  It was like, 'Oh
well, let them go.'"  Frontiere said she "had a good feeling
about" St. Louis, although "it's a bit more laid back than
California" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 1/15).  The league must
formally approve the move at the owners meetings in March.  THE
DAILY has learned that officials in the L.A. area will hold a
news conference today to outline plans to lure another franchise
to Southern CA.     DONE DEAL:  The Rams will "reap one of the
most lucrative enticements deals in pro sports history," with
yearly profits of over $20M, according to Jerry Bonkowski in this
morning's USA TODAY. The Rams receive:  A new 70,000 seat domed
stadium to be completed in October '95 -- they will open next
season at Busch Stadium; a guarantee from FANS, Inc., the civic
group who negotiated the deal, that 85% of luxury boxes and club
seats will be sold for the next 15 years, with all home-team
proceeds going to the team;  the $60M-$70M raised from the sale
of Permanent Seat Licenses (PSL) will be used to pay off $30M in
stadium improvements to Anaheim Stadium, enabling the team to get
out of its lease, cover the Rams legal and moving expenses, and
anticipated team losses this season.  There is also speculation
that Shaw will receive a "'finder's fee' of a few million dollars
for orchestrating the move," but Shaw denied this.  The Rams have
asked St. Louis to guarantee a minimum of 40,000 PSL's sold
before the league's annual spring meeting in March.  If the
figure is not reached, the Rams have the right to void the deal.
About 50,000 PSL's will go on sale this week, priced at $250 to
$4,500.  A 23% deposit will be required.  In a "complicated
agreement," Kroenke will purchase 30% of the team for a reported
$60M (Jim Thomas, St. Louis POST-DISPATCH, 1/15).
     REAX:  NBC commentator Bob Costas, a St. Louis native: "We
lost a team; now we've hijacked someone else's.  I would have
preferred an expansion team -- it's cleaner, there is less
heartache for someone else. ... Plus, I don't like how it's so
corporate, so high-finance.  I know it's the way of sports in the
1990's, but to have to pay a premium price to sit in a seat to
meet the demands of a franchise that left a community so I can
watch guys run around on a rug? (Mike DiGiovanna, L.A. TIMES,
1/17).  Paul Much, a financial adviser for several pro teams,
called the deal "an unprecedented concession to a team, and a
significant investment in the team and the city of St. Louis."
Tom Sullivan, who heads The Campaign for Better Government in St.
Louis: "I don't see any way people are going to ante up that much
for PSL's" (Mike DiGiovanna, L.A. TIMES, 1/15).
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