Maybe Rams Won’t Bankrupt St. Louis : Football: Details of contract released.
The basic agreement between the Rams and FANS, Inc. was officially released Wednesday and, contrary to popular belief about the 30-year lease, St. Louis didn’t give the Rams everything .
St. Louis managed to retain 25% of stadium and convention center advertising revenue, including the rights to name the stadium. That, combined with $500,000 a year the Rams must pay in rent and game-day expenses, should net the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission $2 million annually.
In addition, the Rams will have to pay about $40,000 a year for parking spaces in existing garages around the domed stadium, and they have agreed to share some stadium concession revenue.
The move must be approved by 23 of 30 NFL owners. To that end, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has set a special owners’ meeting for Feb. 16 in Dallas.
Tagliabue will review “all aspects” of the move, including the sale of 30% minority interest in the team to Missouri businessman Stan Kroenke. Also under review will be whether the league will exact a relocation fee from the Rams.
The Cardinals paid about $7 million in such fees in 1988, because their transfer removed Phoenix as a prime NFL expansion site. But former U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, FANS, Inc. chairman, said the league has no financial claim on St. Louis because it was passed over for expansion and, therefore, cannot be considered a “prime” expansion city.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said owners could vote on the Rams’ move in Dallas, but it’s “unlikely.”
Just in case, FANS, Inc. has pushed up its timetable for selling personal seat licenses (PSL), the mechanism by which St. Louis will raise funds to pay for an estimated $67 million in Ram relocation costs.
The agreement called for St. Louis to sell 40,000 PSLs by March 10, two days before the start of the league meetings in Phoenix, where owners are expected to vote on the move. A total of 45,000 PSLs must be sold by the beginning of the 1995 season.
But Eagleton pledged to Shaw on Wednesday that St. Louis would sell 30,000 PSLs by mid-February, 40,000 by March 10 and 50,000 by the start of the season. Early returns show that St. Louis is off to a good start.
More than 2,500 PSL application requests were filled Tuesday, the day the Rams announced the move, and 700 messages requesting applications were left overnight on voice mail in the PSL campaign office.
Some other previously unreported details of the lease agreement:
--The $258-million domed stadium that the Rams plan to call home next October will have 65,300 seats for football games, not 70,000. The maximum capacity of 70,000 will be available for other entertainment events, however.
--St. Louis will finance and build a Ram merchandise store next to the stadium and will use PSL proceeds to pay for construction of additional stadium luxury suites, an upgraded public-address system and stadium fixtures.
--The city has the obligation to make sure new stadium technology is added to the facility to make sure it remains among the league’s best.