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Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

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  • Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

    Not-so-odd couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    By Jeff Gordon

    Dave Checketts and Rush Limbaugh form an interesting tag team in their mutual quest to gain ownership of the St. Louis Rams.

    Checketts is an established deal-maker. He knows how to raise capital and create successful business partnerships.

    He earns high marks for his stewardship of the Blues franchise. His work with that team gained him great credibility in this market.

    He and his people took over a woeful hockey team and painstakingly built a successful organization, brick by brick. They hired the right people and turned them loose. They revived fan support for the franchise by working tirelessly on the marketing and public relations front.

    He and his people developed a plan, stuck with it and delivered on their promise to build a Stanley Cup contender. The Blues got back into the playoffs last season and appear positioned to take a deeper run this postseason.

    Limbaugh has a lot of money, good business sense and useful experience in the sports industry. Back before he became a huge talk-radio star, he worked the front lines for a successful Kansas City Royals franchise.

    In those days, the Royals ran a model operation. The franchise regularly drew 2 million fans (a good number in those days) with a grass roots season-ticket initiative and a successful group sales program.

    Ewing Kauffman was a remarkable owner, even visionary in some respects. His baseball and business staffs were first rate. He hired good people and let them do their jobs.

    Limbaugh had a hand in those glory days. Anybody working in such a successful franchise learns a great deal about succeeding in a tough business.

    As the frontman for an NFL ownership group, though, Limbaugh would face challenges. His aggressive political views could become an issue with segments of the fan base.

    Limbaugh once made comments about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that caused a PR firestorm. He proved too controversial to fill a role on NFL telecasts.

    Can you imagine how much fuss he could cause by speaking his mind as an NFL owner?

    Remaining politically incorrect has served Limbaugh well. Love him or hate him, Limbaugh creates compelling radio.

    He has built an enormous following. His fans expect him to speak his mind and hurt some feelings. Limbaugh plays the provocateur role to the hilt.

    This is why Checketts -- or another commanding individual that Checketts would help recruit -- would serve this group well as the frontman.

    With somebody else out front dealing with the media, the general public and the league, Limbaugh could enjoy the many benefits of NFL ownership without having to tone down his act.

    Limbaugh is a Missouri guy. He would want to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Checketts isn’t a Missouri guy, but he quickly gained an appreciation for this sports community.

    Other individuals and groups will bid on the Rams with the long-range hope of moving them elsewhere, to Los Angeles or London or some other city willing to build the team a new stadium and offer massive inducements.

    Chip Rosenbloom would prefer to find a buyer committed to St. Louis, but we can’t expect him to offer a huge “hometown discount” to make that happen. Business is business.

    The bidding is underway. An ownership change is possible by next year.

    So the Checketts/Limbaugh initiative is worthy of your support. Checketts loves sports, likes St. Louis, wants into the NFL and knows how to make deals. Limbaugh offers financial clout, sports experience, great interest in pro football and an affinity for this region.

    This may be seem like an odd couple, but they could be just the people to keep this franchise in place.

  • #2
    Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

    I agree with this 100%.

    WOW. I can't believe I actually agree with Jeff Gordon about something


    • #3
      Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

      Rams Rushing Toward New Ownership?
      October 6th, 2009
      By Tom Van Riper

      Rush Limbaugh - conservative icon, provocateur, loud mouth....NFL owner?

      The right wing pundit confirmed publicly that he's teaming up with longtime sports executive Dave Checketts to make a bid for the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh has expressed interest in being a part owner of the Rams in the past, but never became part of a bidding process.

      Would Limbaugh, a Missouri native who once worked for the Kansas City Royals, make a good owner? He certainly couldn't do worse than the Rams have fared under Chip Rosenbloom and Stan Kroenke. The Rams are a train wreck right now, with 5-31 record since 2007 and a $931 million valuation that ranks 25th of 31 NFL clubs. That puts any new ownership group in a good spot - with nowhere to go but up.

      Sure, liberal groups would protest and call for boycots, but "at the end of the day, the typical fan will be concerned about the outcome on the field," says Dr. George Belch, founder of the Sports Business MBA program at San Diego State University. How many Philadelphia Eagles fans even noticed the PETA signs as they stormed into Lincoln Field to see Michael Vick? And as for approval from the other NFL owners - it's tough to imagine a group of wealthy businessmen turning down another wealthy businessman for being too conservative.

      Rosenbloom, who inherited 60% of the club from his mother, Georgia Frontiere, has been looking to sell for help with an estate tax bill. NFL cross-ownership rules prohibit Kroenke, the minority partner who owns the NBA Denver Nuggets and NHL Colorado Avalanche, from buying out Rosenbloom's share.

      Business might do better if Limbaugh remained low key for awhile, rather than jump right out front as the face of the franchise. But if he and Checketts succeed with their bid, Rams fans might soon have a reason to get excited again ..


      • #4
        Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

        I think Limbaugh wouldn't be a bad idea. The guy has deep pockets. He seems like a Missouri guy and Checketts owns the blues.

        May I note for you non-hockey fans. The Blues used to be the laughing stock of the NHL, now they are a playoff caliber team.


        • #5
          Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

          Limbaugh is a junkie. His addiction, and all the associated vulnerabilities that come along with that particular demon, are enough to prevent my support for Limbaugh's ownership of the Rams.

          I prefer an owner that is unknown, with as much money as God.
          A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.


          • #6
            Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

            Originally posted by BM_Face View Post
            Limbaugh is a junkie. His addiction, and all the associated vulnerabilities that come along with that particular demon, are enough to prevent my support for Limbaugh's ownership of the Rams.

            I prefer an owner that is unknown, with as much money as God.
            It's true. I saw him on the street corner the other day trying to score an 8-ball. That's not an opinion. That's fact.
            The more things change, the more they stay the same.


            • #7
              Re: Not-So-Odd Couple: Checketts & Limbaugh

              Just remember kids, Rush is right
              Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


              Related Topics


              • RamWraith
                If Rams ever call, Checketts will listen
                by RamWraith
                By Bernie Miklasz
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                Thursday, Oct. 09 2008
                Dave Checketts, owner of the St. Louis Rams?

                When Checketts, the Blues' CEO, made a guest appearance on my KSLG (1380 AM)
                radio show Wednesday, I asked him if he'd be interested in purchasing the Rams.

                Rams Chairman Chip Rosenbloom has said he's in no hurry to sell and would like
                to keep the team. But if Rosenbloom had to sell, he told me he would try to
                place the franchise in good hands and wants the new owner to be committed to
                keeping the team in St. Louis.

                Could Checketts be that candidate?

                If given an opportunity, would Checketts step up and attempt to make a deal
                with Rosenbloom?

                "The answer is absolutely," Checketts said. "We love St. Louis. It's a great
                NFL franchise. There are some real hurdles ahead with it. I'm more interested
                in doing the right thing for St. Louis than I am necessarily being the owner of
                the Rams.

                "I think Chip's having discussions with a lot of different people. I don't
                think he's decided exactly what he wants to do, but if and when he decides to
                sell I hope I get a call."

                As Checketts indicated, there would be obstacles.

                The Rams' sale price would probably fall between $800 million and $1 billion.
                If Stan Kroenke retained his 40 percent ownership share, the new majority
                partner would have to fund 60 percent of the purchase price. Yes, a new owner
                could recruit partners, but under NFL rules the lead owner must control at
                least 30 percent of the franchise.

                Though Checketts' personal worth is unclear, it's doubtful that he has the kind
                of financial clout required to own an NFL franchise. In theory, Checketts could
                put together a group headed by a "silent" majority partner — a big-money
                investor who has little interest in being the front man for the franchise.

                And in that setup, Checketts would fit as the chief executive. He's operated
                successful sports businesses, including the NBA Utah Jazz and New York Knicks.
                Under Checketts' leadership, the Blues are quickly rebuilding their fan base
                and popularity. When Checketts ran Madison Square Garden in New York, the arena
                prospered. Checketts also started up the profitable MSG sports network.

                NFL rules barring cross ownership wouldn't apply to Checketts. He owns a pro
                soccer franchise, in Utah, Real Salt Lake. But since there is no NFL team in
                Salt Lake City, Checketts is cleared to be an NFL owner in St. Louis. It's the
                same reason Paul Allen can own the NFL Seattle Seahawks and the NBA Portland
                Trailblazers; the Blazers do not compete with an NFL team in Portland.

                Kroenke, however, has a problem. The NFL won't...
                -10-09-2008, 04:27 AM
              • MauiRam
                Limbaugh, Checketts join in bid for Rams ..
                by MauiRam
                By Jim Thomas and Jeremy Rutherford
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                Radio personality Rush Limbaugh has joined forces with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams football team, NFL sources confirmed Monday.

                The Checketts group has made its bid on the team and plans to keep the team in St. Louis.

                According to league sources, there are multiple bidders for the Rams as the potential sale of the team has advanced to a second stage — from looking for potential buyers to evaluating the merits of bidders. It is not known who the other bidders are.

                "I certainly think individual bidders have the right to discuss their interest in the club," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "There's really nothing for us to say. It's really not fair to anybody involved in the process.

                "There is no inevitability for the team to wind up being for sale anyway. There may be bidders, but that doesn't mean there will be a sale. Ownership has said all along it would go through this process and evaluate its options. They are under no pressure to sell the team."

                Checketts, the founder and chief executive officer of SCP Worldwide, a New York-based firm that owns and operates the Blues, would be the frontman for a group of investors that would purchase at minimum the 60 percent share of the Rams owned by Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, the son and daughter of the Rams' late owner, Georgia Frontiere.

                Sources with the Checketts group say there is no timetable for the Rams to respond to bids.

                Limbaugh, a conservative political commentator, first mentioned his interest in the Rams last May. He was unavailable to the Post-Dispatch for comment but in a statement sent to KMOX radio, Limbaugh said: "Dave and I are part of a bid to buy the Rams, and we are continuing the process. But I can say no more because of a confidentiality clause in our agreement with Goldman Sachs. We cannot and will not talk about our partners. But if we prevail we will be the operators of the team."

                Limbaugh, originally from Cape Girardeau, Mo., worked briefly as a commentator for ESPN's NFL pregame show in 2003 but resigned amid controversy over his remarks about media coverage of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.

                Forbes magazine recently valued the Rams franchise at more than $900 million, but it's believed the Rams' sale might fetch $800 million or less given the state of the economy and the state of the team, which in recent years has been in the bottom third of NFL franchises in terms of revenue.

                By NFL rule, the Checketts group would have no other choice but to keep the team in St. Louis because of its ties to the Blues. NFL cross-ownership rules prohibit owners from also owning Major League Baseball, National...
                -10-06-2009, 08:58 AM
              • MauiRam
                St. Louis Blues' Dave Checketts is a contender to buy the Rams
                by MauiRam
                Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                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...
                -06-02-2009, 09:08 AM
              • Alec22
                Oh God, its Limbaugh Again........
                by Alec22
                "Rush Limbaugh really is interested in buying the Rams. Limbaugh and St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts head up one of three groups that submitted bids to buy the team, Charley Casserly of CBS reports. It's not clear whether the Checketts/Limbaugh bid includes the 40 percent stake owned by Stan Kroenke or the 60 percent stake owned by the late Georgia Frontiere's children. Rumors of Limbaugh's interest in the team started in May, and he was spotted at the Rams game on Sept. 20."

                If Rush takes ownership in the rams...I simply dont know if I will be able to still call myself a fan, and I havent missed a game in 6 years...........
                -10-05-2009, 11:52 AM
              • HUbison
                Checketts solidifies Rams bid
                by HUbison
                Checketts solidifies Rams bid

                By Bernie Miklasz
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                As Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch reported recently, the sale of the Rams has been narrowed down to a list of three potential buyers.

                And that hasn't changed, according to multiple sources close to Rams managing ownership partner Chip Rosenbloom.

                Rosenbloom would like to make a decision within a month or two. Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, prefer to sell their combined 60 percent share but could opt to hang on to the franchise rather than settle for an unsatisfactory offer.

                One of the three potential buyers is a group of investors organized by St. Louis Blues Chairman Dave Checketts.

                Multiple sources tell me that another group has strong ties to Toronto, which should concern those who want to see the Rams remain in St. Louis.

                As for the third potential buyer ... candidly, I've been unable to nail down that part. But I know it isn't anyone from St. Louis. And I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the bidder is based in Chicago.

                I hope that Checketts prevails in this auction, or the Rams could be in play for a move after the 2014 season.

                Checketts is our best hope to secure a long-term future for the Rams in St. Louis.

                Or to put it another way: Checketts IS the St. Louis offer.

                I trust Checketts to work with area politicians and business and community leaders to solve the looming stadium problem.

                Checketts has made good progress in his Rams efforts. According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Checketts has partnered with a formidable money man in Texas billionaire Gerald J. Ford, who was ranked No. 289 on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans last fall. Forbes estimated Ford's worth at $1.35 billion.

                Ford, 65, made his fortune by buying and selling banks. He's friends with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Ford donated $20 million to SMU in 1997 to help the school build a new football stadium on campus. Indeed, Gerald J. Ford Stadium opened in 2000.

                This is a significant development. For the Checketts bid to comply with NFL ownership rules, one member of his group must control a 30 percent share of the franchise. And multiple sources tell me that Ford is locked in as the 30 percent owner. Ford doesn't want to run the franchise on a daily basis and would leave that to Checketts.

                Ford's addition (at 30 percent) is only part of the equation.

                To cover another 30 percent (including his own percentage) Checketts has been busy lining up additional investors from the St. Louis community.

                The list includes prominent and recognizable names. The investors aren't yet willing to come forward to publicly confirm...
                -02-01-2010, 06:23 AM