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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    06/02/2009

    St. Louis sports fans certainly appreciate the way Dave Checketts has skillfully handled the pucks in his role as the chairman of the Blues.

    So how would the fans react to the idea of giving Checketts a Rams football to see how far he can carry it?

    If Checketts has his way, he'll reach the end zone in his quest to become the next majority owner of the St. Louis Rams.

    In a brief but exclusive e-mail exchange with the Post-Dispatch on Monday, Checketts interrupted a short vacation to strongly declare his intention to put together a group of investors to purchase the controlling share of the Rams from majority owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.

    "We have the ability to get this done and we have communicated this to the Rams," Checketts wrote in an e-mail. "We approached this with the Rams months ago and have since that time put together a partnership of both concerned St. Louisans and outside capital.

    "Last week, we communicated to Chip Rosenbloom in no uncertain terms, that he now has a clear St. Louis buyer. We are that buyer.

    "We have reason to believe the NFL would approve our group as we have carefully explored their ownership requirements."

    That's strong language from Checketts, who politely declined to elaborate on his plans or reveal the identity of willing investors.

    But Checketts clearly is trying to stake out his turf here.

    By confidently expressing his belief that he can land the Rams, Checketts is trying to galvanize public, private and political support. It's a smart move. Checketts can attract more investors by making a convincing case that he's a serious player for the Rams. Checketts already is popular with Blues fans. If he can get Rams fans to rally behind him, even more momentum will shift to Checketts' foray into NFL football.

    Rosenbloom and Rodriguez are selling their 60 percent stake in the franchise and have enlisted Goldman Sachs investment firm to help expedite the sale.

    Cynics would suggest that Checketts lacks the personal wealth to pull off the purchase of an NFL team. Forbes magazine estimates the Rams' value at $929 million, so Checketts would probably have to raise between $450 million and $500 million to acquire 60 percent of the franchise.

    Is Checketts getting in over his head? I heard similar doubts expressed when Checketts entered into negotiations to buy the Blues from Bill Laurie in 2005.

    And Checketts has been a success on multiple fronts. Scottrade Center was cold and mostly empty for hockey games as Checketts took over as Blues chairman for the 2005-2006 season. And now the arena is filled again.

    The Blues were the worst team in the National Hockey League at the end of Checketts' first season, but the franchise made a triumphant return to the NHL playoffs in April 2009.

    Checketts is also in position to pull off another long shot, working with St. Louis city and securing some public dollars to renovate and reopen Kiel Opera House.

    As chairman of New York-based SCP Worldwide an investment firm that focuses on sports, media and entertainment assets Checketts has displayed an uncanny ability to recruit investors and raise cash.

    If Checketts is able to work his magic again, it's unclear what his role would be with an NFL team in St. Louis.

    Full-fledged owner? Managing partner? Chairman? It's hard for me to say, because I don't know the identity of Checketts' potential partners or what their feelings are about an ownership structure.

    While refusing to disclose specific details, two sources close to Checketts framed some of the activity that's occurred behind the scenes:

    Checketts has had multiple discussions with Rosenbloom and "exchanged valuations" on the sale of the football team. A source close to Rosenbloom confirms the conversations with Checketts.

    The investors who reportedly are linking with Checketts are local St. Louis businessmen "of significant value," who share Checketts' desire to keep the Rams in St. Louis and sort through stadium issues here. I was told that two of the names of investors would be "recognizable" to St. Louisans. Another was described as a "heavy hitter" financially.

    Checketts has informed his friend, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, of his efforts to pursue the Rams.

    In 2008, when Checketts first informed me of his interest in buying the Rams, the reaction was generally skeptical. That's understandable, since Checketts' name never appears on the lists of the nation's wealthiest individuals. There's a tendency to underestimate him.

    So go ahead and scoff. But I wrote it before and I'll do it again: It would be a mistake to dismiss Checketts. He's resourceful, focused, organized and doggedly determined to get what he wants.

    And here's another reason I would consider Checketts a contender for the Rams: He has a friend in the right place.

    That would be Chip Rosenbloom, who genuinely likes Checketts.

    Checketts has gotten Rosenbloom's attention. Now comes the difficult part: coming up with enough money to get Rosenbloom's football team.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Sure seems like Checketts has the inside track. Would new ownership bring that winning mentality back to our RAMS? Remains to be seen.

  3. #3
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    He's seemingly done all he can for the Blues... he looks like he'd be a perfect candidate for fans of the "keep the team in St Louis" mindset. He's got my backing at least. It'll be rather interesting to see just what he puts together to get the money.

  4. #4
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Short of kroenke divesting his interest in the nuggets and buying the team outright, this is the best situation i can envision for the rams. Not just because its local, but because it would have a better shot at getting done quicker (since a new stadium would not be required) which would reduce the time period of uncertainty.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  5. #5
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Here is the absolute best part of this story, that shockingly (sarcarsm) Bernie had absolutely no idea this was going on until AP broke this story today. In fact he claimed (completely lied) to have sources claiming the opposite. Here is a quote from the lying hack just 3 days ago:

    And if you are a St. Louis Rams fan, here's the reason to be concerned: I'm told there will be no preconditions attached to the sale of the Rams. This means the Rams could be scooped up by out-of-town buyers.

    And that's a dramatic and potentially ominous development, given the Rams' shaky lease at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Until now, Rosenbloom, the franchise's managing partner, has said he was open to the idea of selling the Rams as long as the new owner agreed to keep the team in St. Louis, long-term. Rosenbloom hoped that his pledge would entice a buyer from the St. Louis community.

    According to a source familiar with Rosenbloom's thinking, Rosenbloom is discouraged by the apparent lack of local ownership interest. Rosenbloom, the source said, has been waiting for more than a year for a St. Louis-area bidder to step forward, to no avail.

    The source said Rosenbloom's strong preference is to sell to St. Louis representatives. But with nothing happening on the St. Louis front, Rosenbloom has reluctantly concluded that the only way to expedite a sale is to make the Rams available to any party, near or far.
    Bernie is truly one of the most pathetic excuses for a writer I've ever seen. He just out right lies and make up stories to get people to read his columns. It's rediculous. And does he really think we are so stupid we would forget he was saying the exact opposite just 3 days ago? Man that guy makes me want to vomit. Even this article he injects fiction in with the truth to try and make it more dramatic than it really is. Are there really so few good writers out there that hacks like this can keep their job?

    Cynics would suggest that Checketts lacks the personal wealth to pull off the purchase of an NFL team. Forbes magazine estimates the Rams' value at $929 million, so Checketts would probably have to raise between $450 million and $500 million to acquire 60 percent of the franchise.

    Is Checketts getting in over his head? I heard similar doubts expressed when Checketts entered into negotiations to buy the Blues from Bill Laurie in 2005.
    More lies and drama here. In 2003 Checketts put together a $650 million dollar offer to try and buy the Dodgers ballclub, Dodger Stadium and 80 percent interest in Fox Sports Net 2. The deal fell thru due to News Corp's unwillingness to part with the tv station, not for lack of funds. In 2006 Checketts bought the Blues for $150 mil and it's worth is estimated at $162 mil. So clearly, unless he and his investment goup have lost a ton of money in the last few years, they should easily be able to pull together $450 mil.
    Last edited by RamFan_Til_I_Die; -06-02-2009 at 06:04 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Here's the AP article if you'd like to read about it without all the conjecture and opinion:

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts is heading a group seeking to buy the NFL's Rams and keep the team in St. Louis.

    On Monday, the Rams announced that the family of former owner Georgia Frontiere has hired the investment firm of Goldman Sachs to review the assets of her estate, including the NFL team. The move was seen as potentially expediting a sale of the franchise.

    A spokesman for Checketts, Eric Gelfand, said Checketts first approached Frontiere's son, Chip Rosenbloom, several months ago about buying the team. Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, inherited 60 percent of the Rams when their mother died in January 2008. Billionaire Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, owns the remaining 40 percent.

    Gelfand said Checketts has put together a group consisting of St. Louisans and outside investors. He provided an e-mail from Checketts expressing confidence the group was a good fit to buy the franchise, which Forbes magazine estimates has a value of $929 million.

    "We have the ability to get this done and we have communicated this to the Rams," Checketts wrote in the e-mail. "Last week, we communicated to Chip in no uncertain terms, that he now has a clear St. Louis buyer. We are that buyer."

    Gelfand would not disclose other members of the group.

    An NFL rule allows ownership of NFL teams and teams in other sports, but only if they are in the same market. That would be a problem if Kroenke wanted to become majority owner of the Rams.

    Checketts' company, SCP Worldwide, owns Utah's Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer team. But NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the cross-ownership rule does not apply to MLS.

    "We have reason to believe the NFL would approve our group, as we have carefully explored their ownership requirements," Checketts wrote.

    The potential sale of the Rams has been rumored since Frontiere's death. Her children are both involved in other interests and neither has ties to St. Louis.

    The sale has raised concerns in St. Louis given the city's spotty record with the NFL. The football Cardinals left after the 1987 season. The NFL passed over St. Louis for the smaller Jacksonville market when it awarded an expansion team in 1993. Two years later, civic leaders convinced Frontiere, a St. Louis native, to move the team from Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest market, back to her hometown.

    Los Angeles is still without a team, and a loophole in the Rams' lease allows them to move as early as 2014 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed among the top quarter of all NFL stadiums. Though just 14 years old, the dome is fast becoming one of the league's older venues, and getting it into the top quarter seems unlikely.

    Gelfand said Checketts is well aware of the stadium issues. "He also knows it's too early to address it specifically," he said.

    Gelfand said Checketts' "main goal" is keeping the team in St. Louis.

    "Given his relationship with the Blues, he feels like he's a St. Louisan and wants to do what's best for the community," Gelfand said.

    Checketts, 53, and his Sports Capital Partners and Towerbrook Capital Partners purchased the Blues in 2006 from Bill and Nancy Laurie. The Blues have gradually rebuilt under his leadership and made the playoffs this past season for the first time since 2004.

    Checketts became the youngest person ever to run an NBA team at age 28 when he became president and general manager of the Utah Jazz in 1984. He later ran the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

  7. #7
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    this would be a good thing for St. Louis, and if he can do for them what he did for the Blues then it turns out to a great thing.I hope it happens.

  8. #8
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Well, whether it's Checketts or Chiclets, I hope the purchase of the Rams takes place SOONER THAN LATER or after the 2009 season!

    I just do not like all this talk of the Rams being up for sale now that we have so many other things to look forward to -- as in players improving the chances of winning more games rather than wondering where the franchise will end up moving and who / how the new owenership will be.

    That's not a way to start the season! Sometimes it is inevitable, these types of distractions (e.g., Saints and the Katrina aftermath), but I believe all effort should be forth to avoid them.

  9. #9
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Now this story is believable. I read the whole thing, and not a single whiff of manure!

    Checketts might be just the right fit for a new owner. He knows how to turn an empty venue into a place with butts in every seat, how to turn losers into winners, and how to drum up interest in the team from those with checkbooks as large as Av's.

    I bet the man likes dogs, too....which means no Vick!

  10. #10
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Short of kroenke divesting his interest in the nuggets and buying the team outright, this is the best situation i can envision for the rams. Not just because its local, but because it would have a better shot at getting done quicker (since a new stadium would not be required) which would reduce the time period of uncertainty.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    I'm confused why wouldn't we need a new stadium, isn't the lease up in 2014.

  11. #11
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    I must admit that I don't know much about the situation, but this seems like it would be the best fit for keeping the team in St. Louis, and turning the organization around. Let's hope this goes through.

  12. #12
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    Re: St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams

    I don't care who buys the Rams or where he takes them, as long as they're committed to putting together a winning franchise. Of course, I'd prefer they come home to LA, but I'm a little biased there. If they stay in St. Louis, and I'm still not convinced that they will, I'd like to see them get out of that damn dome. Indoor football just ain't right.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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