League looks at stadium fund


PHOENIX -- In an effort to create a $50 million fund to help various teams with stadium improvements, the NFL presented a plan to the owners yesterday to charge fans $10,000 for the right to buy a Super Bowl ticket for four years. Tickets currently cost $200, although they're scalped for much more.

If the NFL charged $10,000 for what amounts to a premium seat license for 5,000 tickets, it would create a $50 million fund every four years.

The drawback is that each team would have to give up more than 160 tickets.

The teams that don't make the Super Bowl get 1 percent of the tickets or 750 in a 75,000 stadium and are reluctant to accept a cut in their allotment.

"Everybody would have to give them up," said Alex Spanos, the owner of the San Diego Chargers.

But teams looking for ways to get funds to build or renovate their stadiums are likely to be intrigued by the idea.

One of them is Mike Brown, the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, who said his lease at Riverfront Stadium has been breached by a late payment, although the city of Cincinnati said it's still in force.

"It isn't as easy to build a football stadium apparently as it is to build an NBA arena or a baseball stadium and maybe we should apply ourselves to figure out how we can assist at this thing," Brown said.

Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who's trying to get his stadium renovated, said, "We're miles behind baseball and basketball in venues."

But Modell wasn't sure the Super Bowl plan would work.

"It's a dream," he said.

Brown said the idea deserves further study.

"I know a lot of the guys feel there are problems with it and I see some, too, but, to me, it's an interesting approach," Brown said.

The league has yet to address the question of how teams would apply for money from the fund.

The owners will have discussion on the ticket plan during the meetings, but their main focus is reaching a decision on the Los Angeles Rams' proposed move to St. Louis.

John Shaw, the team's president, met last night with the finance committee in an attempt to reach a compromise that would pass muster with the owners, who want to share in the $70 million windfall the Rams are getting from St. Louis.

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