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FOX BALKS ON RAMS MOVE, DEMANDS REFUND FROM THE LEAGUE
Published March 9, 1995
Just one week before NFL owners will meet in Phoenix to vote on the Rams move to St. Louis, the league confirmed yesterday that Fox is objecting to the team's move from Anaheim. Fox's move contradicts a "public statement" by News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch in January, and "could mean millions of dollars to each team in the league" (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/9). NFL VP of Communications Joe Browne said Fox officials issued a letter to the league in opposition to the move and sources told the L.A. TIMES the "letter demands a monetary rebate to compensate for Fox losing its 'home' team in the nation's second-ranked TV market in exchange for a team in the 18th market" (Bill Plaschke, L.A. TIMES, 3/9). Because of the "enormity" of Fox's investment in the NFL ($1.58B for NFC rights), their stance "is certain to be weighed." Fox officials told NFL owners of their opposition at the owners meeting in February (Jerry Magee, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 3/9). Fox is also a partner in the revised World League. MOVE IN TROUBLE? Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he "will give the owners a real good understanding" of how the league views the Rams' move when the owners meet from March 12-17. Tagliabue: "I've said that two teams in L.A. is one question. One team in L.A. is the minimum" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/9). 49ers President Carmen Policy said Tagliabue's recommendation "will be critical" on how owners will vote (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/9). Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere "could be guilty of the NFL's worst case of premature celebration since Leon Lett," writes Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt: "You just can't have teams going different places willy-nilly" (L.A. TIMES, 3/9). Some "observers doubt the move (to St. Louis) will ever happen. Others are confident it will, though not without strife" (Ed Hinton, SI, 3/13 issue). Joe Alioto, the S.F. attorney who succesfully represented the Raiders against the NFL, predicts the Rams could win $300-400M in damages against the NFL should the league vote down a move (Vito Stellino, Baltimore SUN, 3/9). HOLLYWOOD PARK: The NFL's Browne also said that a proposal for private interest to construct a stadium near Hollywood Park for use by the Raiders "is still alive in the NFL's view" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 3/9).