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Thursday, February 11, 2010
How much did the Rams sell for?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

That’s a question that could have some significance in an NFC North venue if Minnesota’s stadium proposal gains some traction during the state’s legislative session.

St. Louis owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez have signed an agreement to sell their 60 percent stake in the Rams to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. No numbers have been confirmed, but the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reports that the franchise was valued between $725 million and $750 million for the purposes of this sale. (That means Khan would pay between $435 million and $450 million for his share, but the important number is the full value of the team.)

One of the primary obstacles the Vikings have faced in their stadium fight has been attempting to demonstrate financial crisis while the value of NFL franchises skyrocket. Former owner Red McCombs paid $254 million for the team in 1998 and solid it in 2005 for $600 million. Last fall, Forbes magazine valued the Vikings at $835 million.

While Vikings owner Zygi Wilf might not be making large annual profits, the argument goes, his investment had already grown by nearly 30 percent.

But that same Forbes analysis pegged the Rams at $913 million, far beyond what they reportedly fetched. So if we can compare the Vikings and Rams on relative terms, Thursday’s news means the Vikings are worth a number closer to $670 million. An 11 percent increase over five years is nothing to laugh at, but keep in mind owner Zygi Wilf and his partners have funneled at least $50 million of additional money into the franchise through a series of capital calls to cover player expenses.

So if the Globe-Democrat number is accurate, the Vikings will have another credible peg to stand on as they continue their stadium fight.