SBD/20/Franchises

POSSIBLE RAMS BUYER OFFERED OVER $200M FOR TEAM

     Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere was offered $225M from a buyer
who would keep the team in the L.A. area, according to Will
McDonough of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The proposal, "which came through
the NFL office to Frontiere," was rejected last week at the
league meetings.  One owner said Frontiere would have received
$200M up front and $5M a year for five years.  The owner said
there were "three parties interested in buying the team and
keeping it in Anaheim.  The $225 million was the best.  Almost
all of the owners would like to see her sell and get out of the
league.  There was a deal to be made here and the Rams screwed it
up" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19).
     NEXT STEPS:  Representatives of the Rams and FANS Inc. met
for four hours in St. Louis to discuss their strategy.  L.A.
lawyer Max Blecher, who represented the L.A. Coliseum during the
Raiders move in the early '80s, was present.  The focus of the
meeting was "retooling the relocation agreement" between FANS
Inc. and the Rams, and possible legal action against the NFL.
FANS Inc. spokesperson Tom Eagleton:  "I think you're going to
see some (legal) action by March 31st" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH, 3/18).  But a move to St. Louis "is still a
possibility," writes Pat Yasinskas in Tampa.  "Don't be surprised
if the Rams sweeten the pot for the league" (TAMPA TRIBUNE.
3/19).
     AND THE EXPERTS SAY:  In an analysis of the NFL's history in
anti-trust lawsuits, the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH examines the
Rams' chances for legal success.  Three factors from the owners'
meeting "strengthen the Rams' case, should the team sue,"
according to anti-trust experts.  1) Statements by Patriots
management saying they voted against the move because they could
not compete with the Rams under the deal -- "this is a classic
anti-competitive statement."  2) "Indications of collusion
between the NFL and Fox."  And, 3)  The suggestion that the
league treated Frontiere differently because she is a woman
(O'Neil & Freivogel, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/18).
     THE BOYS CLUB:  Although league management seeks to be
"socially progressive," the owners' treatment of Frontiere proved
"they are relative Neanderthals and hardly ready yet to follow
the impressive lead" of Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, according to
Len Pasquarelli in Atlanta.  It's "all too obvious there was some
sexism involved" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/19).  In Fort Worth,
Brian Higgins writes the owners "engaged in a game at which they
proved to be curiously adept.  It's called extortion."  Higgins
believes that "for a league that prides itself on a slick
business history, the NFL imposed a horribly unfair business
decision on the Rams" (FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/19).
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