The Rams are the first NFL team to move in the PSL era. What does that mean for PSL holders? Can St. Louis PSL holders buy tickets to Rams games in Los Angeles? Does the PSL move with the team?
Here is some background on PSL for context: Sports teams constantly need to find ways to innovate and make money. One in recent times has been the personal seat license, or PSL.
It is an agreement that entitles the holder to the right to buy season tickets to their team. Like all contracts, the language of the agreement is the starting place. But the Rams organization have done a few things that would suggest that PSL holders in St. Louis may have a decent argument that they can buy season tickets in Los Angeles.
The PSL is the right to buy Rams season tickets. It is transferable, meaning the holder can sell the seat license to someone else if they no longer wish to purchase season tickets. But it is the buying of season tickets that dictates control: This means if the seat license holder chooses not to sell the seat licenses and does not renew the season tickets, the holder forfeits the license back to the team. Note, the license does not go back to the stadium.
The Rams say the PSL is a right to buy for "all future seasons."
According to the St. Louis Rams, the PSL is the right to buy season tickets to Rams games. It states that fans can:
It is unclear when the language of "those exact seats" was added, and if it was added after the Rams began looking at moving. We reached out to the Rams for comment on this issue, and they did not respond to questions of when the language was added, if it was added or why it was added.
Note, this representation is being made, technically, by a Rams agent, "STR Marketplace," who according to its own website "builds and operates team-branded websites in partnership with professional sports teams." Regardless, in the law, they would have ostensible authority.
Note that it does not state all future seasons that the Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome. Thus, if you are a Rams PSL holder, and if Row 1, Seats 10 and 11 are your tickets, can you buy Row 1, Seats 10 and 11 at the new Rams stadium in Los Angeles?
The Rams first sold a PSL when they moved to St. Louis in 1995, but their initial games were not even played at the stadium currently known as Edward Jones Dome. Those were played at Busch Stadium (the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium). The Rams did not play a game in the stadium known as Edward Jones Dome until November 12, 1995. This would be evidence that the PSL is tied to the Rams themselves and not the particular structure.
Why is it a big deal?
In St. Louis, 46,000 fans paid between $250 and $4,500 for PSLs. Whether they can buy tickets in Los Angeles with that PSL is a big deal, because the value of the PSL, much like the value of the franchise, will increase astronomically in a move to Los Angeles.
According to Business Insider, the Rams owner Stan Kroenke would see his team rise in value from $930 million to around $3.5 billion, and possibly as high as $5 billion.
Shouldn't the purchasers of Rams PSLs, loyal Rams fans who bought season tickets and who are losing their team, also participate in that success? When the Rams move, there is a case they have a legal obligation to share that success with their PSL holders in St. Louis. And there is certainly a moral obligation to do so.
When they move, the Rams should allow PSL holders to sell their PSLs on the open market to the highest bidder in Los Angeles. Or, the Rams should buy back the PSLs from the massive increase in money the Rams are making from the move. And the NFL, in the spirit of the NFL, should make them make it so.