One of the chief strategists who helped Charlotte, N.C., land an NFL expansion team says St. Louis appears to have corrected the mistakes of the past and is in a good position to lure the Rams out of Los Angeles.
Max Muhleman, president of Charlotte-based Muhleman Marketing, is consulting for St. Louis as that city vies with Baltimore and Anaheim for the Rams.
"It seems to me that the support has been unified. The byword used to be disunity, and now it's unity. It seems that they have the bases covered" in St. Louis, Muhleman said.
The city fumbled its expansion bid when its proposed ownership group collapsed in bickering over control of the stadium lease.
"It's a different scenario now. The people that were involved in expansion are not there. The lease problem is not there," he said.
A delegation from St. Louis was scheduled to meet in Los Angeles today with Rams officials. The city is offering the team use of a publicly funded stadium under construction and the sale season-ticket licenses to raise money for a practice and office complex and other items.
The delegation will be smaller than originally anticipated: former Sen. Thomas Eagleton, who heads a public-private organization called Fans Inc. that is trying to bring the team to St. Louis, Al Kerth, a St. Louis-based public relations executive, an attorney and a financial adviser.
Plans to bring St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosely, County Executive George Westfall and Rep. Richard Gephardt were scrapped, said Max Scott, spokesman for Westfall. "I think it was decided that this was the best way to do it," Scott said.
Muhleman said he believes Baltimore is in the running for the team and is putting forward an appealing offer. But St. Louis may have the edge this time, he said.
"I think St. Louis would be an excellent home for an NFL team. They've got an excellent taxpayer-built stadium that's getting a roof put on it now, they've got good public-private leadership and they've been supportive of their baseball and hockey team," he said.
D8 "I think they've got a lot going for them," he said.