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RAMS MOVE BECOMES OFFICIAL; COULD COST TEAM $72 MILLION
Published April 13, 1995
The Rams' move to St. Louis was officially approved by the NFL ownership yesterday in Dallas, with the team agreeing to pay at least $46M to the league -- $29M as a relocation fee and $17M from funds raised from personal seat licenses. However, the move could eventually cost the Rams $72M, as the final agreement with the league contains clauses eliminating the team's cut of the next expansion, unless that expansion is to Southern CA. The cut per team from expansion is projected to be $13.5M. Also, the team will repay Fox for potential losses (up to $12.5M) for leaving the L.A. media market (No. 2) for St. Louis, ranked No. 18 (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/13). The stipluation on expansion fees is valid for the next two possible expansion teams over a ten-year period (THE DAILY). MONEY TALKS? NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue disagreed with the implication that Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere "had to buy her way to St. Louis": "It did not come down to a money deal with the Rams. That is a completely erroneous implication and had very little to do with it." Tagliabue says that none of the Rams money will go to other clubs, and that some of it will go to NFL Charities, or a stadium trust fund. Tagloabue: "(Money) was the least of our concerns" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 4/13). More Tagliabue: "The NFL is a $2 billion-dollar industry. This is not much money in relation to that" (Thomas George, N.Y. TIMES, 4/13). VOTE COUNT: 23 NFL owners voted for the move, six against (Giants, Jets, Cardinals, Bills, Redskins and Steelers), with one abstention (Raiders). A month ago in Phoenix, NFL owners voted 21-6 against the move. While many writers across the country painted the owners change of heart as purely a financial decision, Tagliabue claimed the prospect of an ugly lawsuit was key: "What was involved was the issue of principle. ... The desire to have peace and not be at war was a big factor" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 4/13). L.A. RAM-IFICATIONS: After the Rams vote, the league discussed financial assistance for the construction of a new $200M stadium in Hollywood Park for the Raiders, UCLA, future Super Bowls, and possibly another CA team. In L.A., Simers reports "the league is expected to partially fund the proposed stadium." Tagliabue, however, "backed away" from a plan to establish a stadium trust fund with the Rams' money to renovate or construct a new stadium in Southern CA (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 4/13). For more on the future of football in the L.A. market. FOX REAX: Fox will lose 4.9 million TV households with the Rams' move out of the No. 2 market, resulting in a 4% loss nationally. However, Fox will now have an opportunity to broadcast doubleheaders in L.A. and not suffer from the non- sellout blackouts the Rams experienced last season (Thomas George, N.Y. TIMES, 4/13). Fox Spokesperson Vince Wladika: "We're studying the ramifications of losing the number two television market from our NFC package. It's an open issue for us to discuss" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/13). SHOW-ME-JOY: ESPN's Karl Ravech: "As dust settled on the city of St. Louis, celebrations were well under way. The gateway to the West had actually taken a team from there" ("SportsCenter," 4/12). The team plans a celebration in St. Louis today. Rams owner Georgia Frontiere, "comes home to St. Louis a winner," according to the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH's Bernie Miklasz. Frontiere, doing her best impression of MO hero Harry Truman: "We know what it's like to be Missourians. It's not that we're stubborn, but when we start on the path, we don't give up until we reach the end." More local flavor from Frontiere: "I feel like Lindbergh, after the trip" (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 4/13). New minority owner Stan Kroenke of Columbia, MO, who will own 30% of the team, was approved as part of the deal. Kroenke and Frontiere's team will play the first four games of next season at Busch Stadium before the team's $260M domed stadium is completed (L.A. TIMES, 4/13).