NFL: Rams move bumped up costs, justifying relocation fee
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The millions of dollars paid by St. Louis to lure the Rams resulted in a higher cost structure in the NFL, so the relocation fee charged to the team was justified, NFL lawyers argued Friday.
The Rams stood to gain around $80 million by moving to St. Louis, NFL lawyer Francis Hawkins testified on videotape. That raised potential operating costs for other teams because salaries negotiated with NFL players are based on total team revenue, he said.
``That’s a legitimate factor in determining the relocation fee,″ Hawkins testified.
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is suing the NFL for $130 million in the antitrust lawsuit, which is now two weeks old.
League owners approved the Rams’ move in April 1995, one month after voting against it. The CVC contends the only difference was that during the interim, the team agreed to pay a $29 million relocation fee.
David Behring, president of the Seattle Seahawks, testified on tape that the NFL’s finance committee had ``concerns″ about a team moving from the Los Angeles television market. The Raiders followed the Rams out of Los Angeles, leaving the nation’s second-largest market without a team.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones voted against the Rams’ move in March, but changed his mind in April 1995.
``It (approval of the move ) was recommended by the finance committee, the Rams indicated they were content, and I saw it in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys,″ Jones testified on tape.
Testimony will continue Monday afternoon.