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  • Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Sunday, June 12, 2011 11:00 am

    When word got out that the Rams had been contacted by the group that's trying to recruit an NFL team for Los Angeles, it caused a wave of panic in St. Louis.

    This apparently was headline news. Judging by the way the story was played up by St. Louis television stations, you would have thought a fleet of moving vans was out at Rams Park, loading up Sam Bradford and the team's other worldly possessions for an immediate transfer to LA.

    But really, was anyone really shocked? Los Angeles obviously wants an NFL franchise to anchor a massive stadium project there. The Rams are one of several NFL teams drawing attention from LA for obvious reasons.

    This isn't exactly a covert CIA operation. Teams with stadium issues in their home markets are being targeted. The Rams qualify; they'll probably be free to vacate their Edward Jones Dome lease after the 2014 season.

    So naturally the Rams and owner Stan Kroenke are going to get a call from LA.

    It would be more surprising if they didn't get a call from LA.

    But just because someone expresses interest in your football team, it doesn't mean the team is moving. There's a long way to go in this game. As it is, the Rams are committed to playing four more seasons of football at The Ed. A lot can be done between now and then.

    And if billionaire Philip Anschutz — the billionaire behind the LA project — wants a team, the Rams may be the wrong fit. He's apparently looking to purchase a team as part of moving it to LA.

    Why would Kroenke want to sell the Rams to Anschutz? Kroenke helped bring the Rams to St. Louis in 1995 by stepping forward to become Georgia Frontiere's ownership partner and buying 40 percent of the team.

    Kroenke patiently hung on to that 40 percent share for 15 years, until he finally had the chance to buy full control of the Rams. But before becoming the owner, Kroenke had to work out a complicated arrangement with the NFL to get around the league's rules prohibiting cross ownership.

    Kroenke has owned the Rams for less than a year. Buying his way into the NFL inner circle of owners was obviously an important quest for Kroenke. So after going through 15 years of waiting to make it happen, why would Kroenke want to give up his seat in the owners' circle?

    This makes no sense. And Kroenke is a buyer and a collector, not a seller. Just look at all of the sports properties he's purchased or developed: the NFL Rams, the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche, the Pepsi Center in Denver, the MLS Colorado Rapids, a soccer stadium in Colorado, a pro lacrosse team in Colorado, and the Arsenal soccer club in the English Premier League.

    Sure, Kroenke could try to move the team without selling it. But in my conversations with Kroenke, he has consistently and repeatedly stated his desire to keep the Rams in St. Louis. He points to his Missouri roots, his Missouri family ties, his Missouri business interests, his key role in bringing the Rams to St. Louis.

    But one thing Kroenke won't do is guarantee anything. And why would we expect him to? You'd have to be childishly naοve to believe it makes sense for Kroenke to give up leverage now.

    Kroenke didn't become worth nearly $3 billion by being dumb. He's a businessman. He's pragmatic. Kroenke will enter negotiations over the Edward Jones Dome lease, and a "guarantee" on his end would undermine his bargaining position.

    And I'll just go ahead and guess that Kroenke isn't opposed to using LA's interest in the Rams to enhance his situation in St. Louis.

    That's how it's done in professional sports.

    Get used to it.

    The Rams-LA speculation won't go away until one of two things happen:

    1. Los Angeles lands an NFL team. Other named candidates are San Diego, Minnesota, Oakland and Jacksonville.

    2. Kroenke and St. Louis make a deal to extend the lease at the Edward Jones Dome, securing the franchise for St. Louis beyond 2014.

    That won't permanently solve the problem, but at least it's a start. Another obvious plus for St. Louis would be a new collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players. It would help for the Rams to have a more equitable revenue position in their status as an NFL mid-market franchise.

    Let's assume Kroenke will want a new stadium at some point. Given the $280 million in public money used to build the Dome, which opened in 1995, it's folly to ask taxpayers to fund another football stadium.

    Given the political and economic climate, it's a non-starter. A publicly financed stadium would be shouted down by politicians, angry citizens, watchdogs and even a sports columnist. If we're going to rebuild or build anything let's start in Joplin, OK?

    But if Kroenke and St. Louis can agree on an intermediate lease extension at the Dome, it will buy some time until all parties determine the best way to proceed on a long-term plan.

    If Kroenke wants a new stadium, he'll have to take on much of the project by himself. That's how it's being done in other NFL cities. Owners are building their own stadiums, using financial assistance from the NFL and taking advantage of local tax-break incentives.

    Given Kroenke's success and creativity in making deals and developing real estate, he seems well suited to get something done on the stadium front.

    And as long as Kroenke tells me that he wants to keep the Rams in St. Louis, I'll take him at his word — well, at least until I have a firm reason to believe he's lying.

    It isn't a crime to take a phone call from the LA people. I understand Kroenke's desire to have leverage, and that's why he won't shoot down or discourage the LA speculation.

    This is all part of the game.

    I just hope Kroenke doesn't take it too far, or he will squander and destroy the goodwill of his fellow Missourians in the Show Me State.

    After all, Enos Stanley Kroenke was named in honor of Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial.

    He wasn't named in honor of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

    Kroenke may be a tough businessman, but I don't believe he'll betray his home state.

  • #2
    Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

    Christ, another Rams going possibly to L.A. or possibly staying thread. Chalk another one up for a total of i believe 3. I hope I win the office pool. I bet on there being 5.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

      Oh don't worry Bernie, I'm not panicking. In fact, I haven't come across any Ram fan who is. I have the ability to read, think, and reason for myself and I don't need you to spoon-feed me obvious statements about the Rams moving or not moving. Frankly, it would be impossible for me to care any less than I do right now. Rams aren't going anywhere. There are only so many ways to say it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

        Who was panicking?

        This doesn't even qualify as a story.

        Go back to covering baseball, Bernie.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

          maybe their not going anywhere but here in L.A. Fox Cbs Nbc and Abc have been airing the Rams maybe returning.
          Stay tuned.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

            Originally posted by MauiRam View Post
            BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Sunday, June 12, 2011 11:00 am

            Kroenke didn't become worth nearly $3 billion by being dumb. He's a businessman. He's pragmatic.
            Exactly.....The bottom line here is the bottom line, No?

            Although I don't expect a sale of the RAMS by Kroenke. I wouldn't be surprised if he's entertaining the thought of moving them to L.A..

            GO RAMS!
            sigpic :ram::helmet:

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..

              Originally posted by netminder View Post
              maybe their not going anywhere but here in L.A. Fox Cbs Nbc and Abc have been airing the Rams maybe returning.
              Stay tuned.
              The Rams are not moving back to L.A. Why can't certain people accept that?

              I know this is a dead period with the lockout and all, but there is no story here. Just a few unimportant facts peppered with an overdose of speculation.

              Comment

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              • MauiRam
                Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..
                by MauiRam
                BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
                Thursday, March 29, 2012

                Rams owner Stan Kroenke failed in his high-stakes attempt to make a winning bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A group put together by Magic Johnson won the auction and shocked the sports world with a successful, if crazy, $2 billion offer.

                This may have been a loss for Kroenke, but it was a win for multiple parties.

                This was a win for the NFL.

                I don't think the NFL wanted Kroenke further distracted by adding yet another toy to his collection of sports franchises. The NFL would like to see Kroenke do his best to fix the Rams and come up with a resolution to the stadium-lease issue.

                I don't think the NFL was much interested in getting into another rules skirmish with Kroenke. Had he purchased the Dodgers, Kroenke would have been in violation of the league's cross-ownership policy, because the NFL controls the LA market. The NFL gets to avoid that potential conflict.

                It was also a win for baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. His trusted ally, longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, is part of the winning group. Kasten will run the Dodgers; MLB got to keep this in the family.

                Kroenke did pass muster financially to qualify as one of three finalists for the Dodgers. But MLB wasn't enthusiastic about handing a crown-jewel franchise to a largely absentee owner who has so many other teams and business interests. The Dodgers occupy a special spot in baseball's heritage and deserve undivided attention.

                Moreover, MLB probably didn't want the Dodgers and Chavez Ravine to be in the middle of Kroenke's potential maneuvering for an NFL franchise in Los Angeles.

                It was a win for Dodgers fans, who are happy to have an LA sports icon in place at Chavez Ravine. Magic Johnson didn't fund the $2 billion purchase, but he recruited the money men, and he'll be on the ground in LA as the constant face of the franchise. Kroenke was no match for Johnson's LA's cachet, connection or vast popularity.

                OK, so what does Kroenke's defeat mean for Rams fans?

                Answer: to be determined.

                Kroenke lost a little leverage in St. Louis when the Dodgers slipped away from him. Rams fans and some uninformed pundits already were in a frenzied state, convinced that Kroenke (A) would get the Dodgers and (B) move the Rams to Los Angeles approximately 18 seconds later.

                It was never that simple, because the NFL plans on being doggedly protective of the LA market and will tightly control the process of putting a team there. The price on the Dodgers' sale only reinforced how valuable a LA-based NFL franchise would be for the owner, and the league isn't just going to allow anyone to sweep in and cash in. That's obvious, but the reality did nothing to prevent the paranoia from festering in St. Louis.

                It only strengthened Kroenke's leverage to have the...
                -03-30-2012, 01:39 AM
              • MauiRam
                Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..
                by MauiRam
                BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, November 24, 2011 2:25 pm

                We're rapidly approaching an important deadline. By Feb. 1, 2012, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission must present the Rams with a financing plan to turn the Edward Jones Dome into one of the NFL's best stadiums.

                That's virtually impossible. There's no way to renovate the dome to qualify for top-tier NFL status. More than 20 NFL stadiums have been built or fully renovated since the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis and into The Ed in 1995.

                Per terms of the lease agreement, the CVC is obligated to make the Dome superior to three-quarters of all NFL venues. Again, there's no way to make that happen without building a new stadium. And that's not feasible. And so the Rams will be free to opt out of the Dome following the 2014 season, unless the Rams grant concessions and sign an extension on the lease.

                Here's what the CVC, the city of St. Louis, and the state should do for the Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke:

                Nothing.

                That's right.

                Nothing.

                The Rams want a top-tier facility?

                Great. Let's talk when Kroenke delivers a top-tier football team.

                Unless the CVC and the Rams fans want to spinelessly capitulate and surrender to the threats of a billionaire owner who ranks among the wealthiest Americans, there's no reason to roll over like a bunch of stooges to appease Kroenke.

                At some point, you just have to draw the line. The fans and the city aren't failing the Rams; the Rams are failing their fans. And they've been getting away with it for years.

                The franchise continues to receive strong support at the ticket windows. Sure, there are empty seats on game day, but it's understandable considering the abysmal product that's being served to the public.

                The fans don't receive enough credit for standing by this team. Since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, only nine of 138 regular season and postseason home games have been blacked out on local television.

                Rams fans have nothing to apologize for.

                If anything, they are owed an apology.

                The Rams moved here from LA to take advantage of the riches offered by St. Louis, and to cash in on a remarkably lucrative lease agreement at the new stadium. The Dome was once a giant cash machine that increased the owners' personal wealth.

                When the taxpayer-funded Dome opened, guaranteeing astronomical profits, Rams owners Georgia Frontiere and Kroenke were the envy of other NFL owners. That's why other NFL owners were able to squeeze their cities for new stadiums. They saw what Frontiere and Kroenke had in St. Louis and wanted the same.

                The raising of the Edward Jones Dome was actually a turning point in NFL history — at least in terms of adding more layers to the vast bankrolls of NFL owners....
                -11-25-2011, 11:04 AM
              • r8rh8rmike
                Kroenke Sparks NFL Chaos
                by r8rh8rmike
                Kroenke sparks NFL chaos

                Rams owner Stan Kroenke's plan to move the team to L.A. raises eyebrows

                Originally Published: March 18, 2015
                By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine

                THE FIRST PIECE of property Stan Kroenke ever cared about sits abandoned now, perched on the edge of an endless swath of farmland, sinking into the thick coffee-colored soil of central Missouri. Some of the original charm of Enos Stanley Kroenke's quaint childhood home in Mora (population: 424) remains intact. The green front door still features an old-fashioned brass and porcelain doorbell crank. The intricate wood detailing under the roof eaves has survived. But after years of neglect by the current owners, who converted the old water well into a TV antenna, any gust of wind can scatter giant flakes of gray house paint across the overgrown landscaping. "It was a beautiful little farmhouse at one time," whispers a neighbor. "It's not now."

                Kroenke, the multibillionaire real estate developer and owner of the St. Louis Rams, once recounted how he used to sit on the narrow front porch here and, as the summer sun set behind the corn, soak in the faint, scratchy radio broadcasts of the St. Louis Cardinals with his father and grandfather. Alvin Kroenke so loved the Cardinals that he named his eldest son after two of 
the team's homegrown Hall of Famers: the hardworking Enos "Country" Slaughter and the quiet, humble effortless hitter Stan "the Man" Musial.

                Today, though, the family's once idyllic front porch is full of gaping holes in its weather-worn floorboards. And Missourians fear that Kroenke's relationship with his native state 
is falling into similar disrepair.

                Since January, the reclusive Kroenke, 67, has been maneuvering his NFL team west, out of Missouri and into what would be the crown jewel of his massive real estate development and sports empire: a proposed 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood, California, with a space-age retractable roof, open-air sides and a U.S.-record $1.86 billion budget.

                Five decades after he left Mora, Kroenke has amassed a net worth of $6.3 billion, according to Forbes, and through his array of vineyards, ranches and strip malls, many of them anchored by Wal-Mart, he has become the eighth-largest landowner in the United States. All the while, he has collected sports franchises like vintage cars. Besides the Rams, he owns the English Premier League team Arsenal, valued at $1.3 billion, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, MLS's Colorado Rapids, the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and Denver's Pepsi Center, where he maintains a 12,000-square-foot penthouse apartment on the top two floors, complete with a theater, a gym and pristine views of the Rockies.

                Most of these, however, would become secondary knickknacks if Kroenke is indeed the man who brings...
                -03-23-2015, 12:36 PM
              • MauiRam
                Rams owner Stan Kroenke won more than just L.A.
                by MauiRam
                By Dan Wetzel

                DENVER – Stan Kroenke owns three major professional sports franchises in the Denver area: the NBA Nuggets, the NHL Avalanche and the MLS Rapids, plus the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.

                When he is here to tend to their business, which is often, he lives in a spacious penthouse jutting out of one side and on top of the Pepsi Center, the 18,000-seat downtown arena he also owns.

                It's an incredible home, spacious and brilliantly decorated, with multiple outdoor spaces and views of both downtown and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Once inside, it feels like a standalone home off in some gated community in the suburbs, not something that is an elevator ride from a raucous arena.

                "Convenient commute," Kroenke said with a laugh to Yahoo Sports on Saturday night while watching his Nuggets defeat the Detroit Pistons.

                It's every young sports fans' dream – can't we just live in the arena?

                "Sports and real estate development is a large part of what we do," said Kroenke, who Forbes estimates is worth $7.7 billion.

                Sports and real estate. Real estate and sports.

                It's how Stan Kroenke, despite lacking the big personality or high-profile of a Jerry Jones or a Mark Cuban, has emerged as one of the world's preeminent professional sports owners and, with construction set to begin on a state-of-the-art, 100,000-capacity, clear-roofed stadium in a 300-acre development in Inglewood, Calif., undeniably one of the most powerful figures in sports in this country.

                The franchises here in Colorado are big, his other two are bigger. There is the London-based Arsenal Football Club of the English Premier League and its home arena, Emirates Stadium, the third largest in England.

                Then there are the Rams of the NFL, which after approval this month from the NFL will leave St. Louis and return to their Los Angeles roots and into what is expected to be the envy of any venue in the world. It was Kroenke, who after two-plus decades solved the NFL's L.A. riddle, something many billionaires, businessmen, entertainment moguls, governors, mayors and so on couldn't.

                "The NFL had a problem out there, I was on the committee [looking at relocation possibilities] for years," Kroenke said. "We never got anything done. It's hard to get things done in California."

                Hard, but, it turns out, not impossible.


                Kroenke, 68, grew up in rural Missouri, where as a child he served as a bookkeeper to his father, a small business owner. He later attended the University of Missouri, where he also earned an MBA. He focused on real estate and operates a vast array of companies and interests, although he still carries himself with a calm, down-home style that belies his immense wealth. His preferred drink is a very cold Coors...
                -01-26-2016, 08:52 AM
              • MauiRam
                Kroenke's silence might say a lot ..
                by MauiRam
                Bernie Miklasz
                Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                04/15/2010

                What a strange time to be a Rams fan in St. Louis. We're eight days away from the NFL draft, and the Rams hold the first choice. They're probably going to choose talented Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, a good guy with an accurate arm who can become the new face of the franchise and a symbol of hope.

                After three seasons of 6-42 football, this should be a time of looking ahead to better, happier days. But as usual, Rams fans are left to wonder what's going on. The glimpse into the future is hazy. An unsettled, uncertain ownership situation has put the franchise in turmoil. And that's unfortunate.

                The concern is that the football operation is limited and unable to spend money and make moves because of the uncertainty at the very top of the franchise. If Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are selling their 60 percent to Stan Kroenke or Shahid Khan, then haven't they already checked out?

                "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer. "We're making football decisions based on what's best for the Rams in the short term and the long term. We presented an offseason game plan to Chip and Lucia, and they agreed to it. Nothing has changed. There are no constraints. They are actively involved."


                The purpose here isn't to beat up on Rosenbloom and Rodriguez. They've made a genuine attempt to give the franchise a fresh start by installing new football leadership. And they have improved the dysfunctional culture at Rams Park.

                Moreover, the Rosenblooms were determined to sell to pro-St. Louis interests. They thought they had a good buyer in Khan, the central Illinois businessman who lives within an easy drive from St. Louis. After entering into a purchase agreement with the Rosenblooms, Khan immediately conveyed his pro-St. Louis sentiment and indicated that he wanted to keep the team here.

                But Rams minority ownership partner Stan Kroenke cut off Khan's bid by exercising his contractual right to buy the 60 percent owned by Chip and Lucia. Kroenke must persuade the NFL owners to change their cross-ownership rules to accommodate him.

                And what if Kroenke succeeds? It's widely assumed that Kroenke would be pro-St. Louis with the Rams. He's a Missouri native. A multi-billionaire and highly successful real-estate developer, Kroenke does business throughout the state. He has family here. He has a residence in Columbia, Mo. And he helped bring the Rams here from Los Angeles in '95.

                That said, something struck me as odd the other night when Kroenke disclosed his intentions to buy the Rosenbloom-Rodriguez shares. In his statement, Kroenke said nothing about wanting to keep the team in St. Louis. There was no expression of thanks offered to Rams fans for...
                -04-15-2010, 09:09 AM
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