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,
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.
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).