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RAMS MOVE IS AT THE TOP OF THE NFL OWNERS' MEETING AGENDA
Published March 13, 1995
"The bloodless battle to keep the Rams in Southern California will erupt today behind closed doors at the NFL's annual meetings," writes Michele Himmelberg in today's ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The point of contention is the $70M the Rams are due to receive from the sale of PSLs. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue claims that money should be designated as ticket revenue, to be shared 60/40. Tagliabue: "That's the No. 1 issue in the minds of many teams. The broader issue is whether the move is justified." The NFL's Finance Committee met with Rams President John Shaw for two hours Sunday to begin those negotiations (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13). A source on the Finance Committee said the Rams will receive a "list of demands," and if Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere agrees to them, the committee will urge team owners to approve the move. But if the move is voted down, the team expects to be back in CA. Shaw: "If we're voted down I think the chances of playing in L.A. are very good. Where? We haven't even addressed that issue yet" (Plaschke & Simers, L.A. TIMES, 3/13). FROM THE OWNERS: Browns Owner Art Modell said the Finance Committee appears divided: "If they do move, we'd be leaving a tremendous gaping hole in the Fox television contract. We want a two-team market in Los Angeles. I don't care what the Rams do, but we need either an expansion team or a veteran team to relocate to Anaheim if they were to go." Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen notes Fox's objections and is concerned the network will ask for compensation: "When the Cardinals moved, Bill Bidwill spent a lot of time and effort trying to stay in St. Louis. He stayed within the rules. When the time came to vote, it was apparent he had tried and failed. I'm not sure the Rams have put forth that effort" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13). Oilers Owner Bud Adams: "It's a doable deal. I think we will work something out. Anything as big as this takes a lot of time" (L.A. TIMES, 3/13). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones: "It would surprise me if this is totally resolved at (this week's) meetings" (USA TODAY, 3/13). In Boston, Will McDonough writes it "looks like" the Rams' move will be defeated. One owner who will vote against the move: "The votes are there to stop them. And unless some people change their minds, it is not going to happen" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/12). Several other NFL beat writers predict the league and the Rams will work out some arrangement and the move will be approved. FINANCIAL SITUATION: The Rams contend they lost about $700,000 in '93 and were projecting a $6M loss for '94 (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13). But McDonough reports that the NFL has evidence the Rams have not lost money. One "highly placed source": "Each team has its own method of accounting. But the league office has one they use to conform all teams the same way. The Rams' accounting says they lose money. The league's accounting says they make money. Big money" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/12).