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Money, prestige follow Rams out of Macomb
MACOMB, Ill. St. Louis Rams souvenirs are selling at cut-rate prices in Macomb since the team moved their summer training camp after nine years at Western Illinois University.
But local officials say the team's shift to St. Louis is no bargain for businesses that catered to the nearly 200,000 fans who flocked to Macomb since 1996. The influx pumped up to $1 million a year into the region's economy.
They also lament losing the prestige and exposure the NFL connection brought to a region that has long grumbled that state and federal dollars routinely bypassed their largely rural area.
The Rams are holding out hope for a possible return to Macomb after this year's camp, which kicks off Thursday.
Team executive Bob Wallace called the move an experiment, following an NFL trend that will put nearly half of the league's 32 teams on their home turf for training camp this year.
He said Macomb would be a front-runner if the team opts to move camp away again.
Local officials are hopeful, but say they'll try to woo the Chicago Bears or another NFL team if the Rams stay in St. Louis.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
-07-23-2005 #2rawkhrdr Guest
Re: Money, prestige follow Rams out of Macomb
I thought that the point of training camp is to keep the players away from the home crowds. It makes it easier to practice and concentrate on getting the playbook down and re-learning your position. Moving TC from teh home town also minimizes distractions and gives teams a chance to broaden their fanbase. I have never been for teams holding thier TC's in the same city they play in.