RAMS MOVE IS AT THE TOP OF THE NFL OWNERS' MEETING AGENDA
"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).