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S, M or L Market?

You have to search high and wide to find much about the Rams right now. Oh, the NFL's getting plenty of coverage, but it's all about dog fights and drug tests and pornographic email messages. Not that we here at TST don't enjoy those things, but I am getting mighty hungry for, you know, some actual football related stuff.

In the meantime, we'll just have to find something to talk about. We'll try out best.

There's an excellent discussion going on about small market teams over at Big Cat Country, SBN's Jags blog. It's a good discussion that's just getting started. This one focuses on relocation, but approaches a number of issues that include revenue sharing and the current collective bargaining agreement.

As for St. Louis, it certainly doesn't fit as a small market team in the same way Green Bay or Jacksonville is, but it's hardly NYC or Dallas either. In fact, it seems like St. Louis' pro teams often have to deal with the market realities they face, and Blues fans will certainly recall the talk of that franchise being moved depending on the buyer. One thing I notice with the NFL though, more than other sports, is how you find so many "out of market" fans. There's lots of reasons for that, but the national stage the NFL has had for so long is an obvious answer as people in Arizona watch Brett Farve or someone in upstate New York like the way the Rams play football. With the expansion of the new media climate, i.e. Web 2.0, I think you'll see a lot more of this. I think one of the best things the NFL can do moving forward is expand the means by which fans can pick and choose the games they want to see. We've got the Direct TV option that allows you to watch (almost) any game you want, but being limited to Direct TV, it's not as universal as what baseball has done with it's web-based MLB TV. The counter to that is that it would take away the ratings for the network broadcasts, where the league (and everyone involved) makes their biggest chuck of revenue.

I can't imagine moving away from the revenue sharing agreement the league has. The reason small market teams work so well is that the league remains highly competitive under such an all for one/one for all arrangement. This is a big, big discussion and worth more ink than I'm giving it here, so I'd encourage you to head over there for the larger discussion. But let's start it off here with a simple question, are the Rams a small market franchise? Are we threatened by the rising cost of maintaining a team with a market that can't support it?