Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Paid Steep Price to Fill Dome

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Paid Steep Price to Fill Dome

Article excerpt

Buyer's remorse often afflicts big-ticket shoppers.

Sign off on a major purchase, and the personal second-guessing can kick in before you get home.

Did I choose the right item? Pay too much? Get stuck with a lemon?

Car makers understand this self doubt. Their commercials are meant to soothe their current car owners as well as lure new ones.

Which brings us to the Rams, the biggest-ticket item in St. Louis sports history. St. Louis FANS Inc., a crew of politicos, brokered the deal.

The Rams mania of the past week has blunted buyer's remorse. But after committing nearly $1 billion over 30 years, it's fair to ask: What kind of deal did FANS Inc. cut?

If you're a shopper hungry now for any team at any price, no problem.

But FANS Inc. met the sticker price with the personal seat license, a ticket to buy a ticket to Rams games. The anti-PSL line, as noted in this space last fall, was that this was icing for an already frosted cake.

St. Louis ponied up a $260 million stadium, more than $600 million from a 30-year lease and $60 million from Stan Kroenke to become minority owner. If Rams owner Georgia Frontiere wanted to leave Los Angeles, lack of PSL money wouldn't stop her.

In fact, that proved true.

PSLs brought $74 million. To move, the Rams will pay up to $71 million to the National Football League. If the PSL swag was crucial to the Rams, why give up that sum so easily? And the league only dunned the PSL money because it already was there, stacked and waiting. Or maybe it's just coincidence that the NFL settlement matched the PSL total almost penny for penny.

FANS Inc. focused on the Rams instead of comparison shopping for sale items such as the Tampa Bay Bucs. As St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall said, the Rams were the best bet to play here in '95.

Westfall, St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. and Congressman Dick Gephardt of FANS Inc. …

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