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Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..

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  • Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..

    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 Chicken Littles clucking and shrieking in St. Louis, fearful of his potential Dodgers-Rams parlay.

    Sure, owning the Dodgers could have gotten Kroenke dreaming of building an LA sports empire. I reject the notion that a Rams move was inevitable in this scenario, but we'll never know for sure. The Dodgers got away from Kroenke.

    However, the same old reality remains in place: Kroenke can still try to move the Rams. Unless he can make a deal to extend the lease at the Edward Jones Dome, Stan the Businessman almost certainly will have an escape clause to leave St. Louis after the 2014 season.

    So nothing's changed. Dodgers or no Dodgers, Kroenke can attempt to move the Rams if the two sides can't agree on a lease.

    I'm still among the seven or eight people in St. Louis who believe Kroenke will stay. As one NFL owner told me recently, Kroenke still has one of the best lease arrangements in the NFL.

    So what's the problem? Kroenke is a cold guy, but he isn't a bad guy. Stan just can't help himself; tough negotiations, and the art of the deal, excite him. So he'll push hard to get the necessary stadium improvements here.

    Even if Kroenke tries to move, he won't receive a speed pass from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    What continues to get lost in this conversation is the NFL's ambivalence about the LA market. The NFL isn't close to being sold on the two flimsy LA stadium proposals.

    The NFL doesn't need LA right now. The league has a long-term labor deal in place. Late last year the NFL reached agreements with its television partners that guarantee a massive jump an estimated 60 percent in TV revenue. The new deals are triggered in 2014.

    The NFL can't make money on an LA team. Not now, anyway. These monster TV deals already are in place. And it actually helps the league to have fans in the Los Angeles area unattached to a local team. Instead of being stuck watching the same team on TV each week and being subjected to blackouts LA fans are free to watch a larger variety of televised games. That's good for ratings in that huge LA market. The networks love that.

    It also helps NFL owners to keep Los Angeles open; it provides leverage as they haggle for new stadiums or enhanced leases in their current home markets. Why give up that leverage? Owners need the threat of LA to frighten politicians and fans at home. That's another reason Goodell is unlikely to allow any team to rush into Los Angeles.

    In the end, this will probably come down to Kroenke making his best deal with St. Louis.

    There are hopeful signs. Take the lease negotiations, for example. An important part of the Rams' objective is to make the gloomy dome a more fan-friendly and appealing venue. The Ed was poorly designed, and I like it that Kroenke sincerely wants a better place for fans. The Rams should be commended for that.

    Kroenke is trying to improve his chronic loser of a team. He spent a small fortune to hire Jeff Fisher as coach. He brought in a new GM in the promising Les Snead.

    The rookie GM made a great trade, sending the No. 2 overall draft choice to Washington for three No. 1 picks and a second-round selection. The Rams and Kroenke also spent a bunch of money to sign three impact free agents.

    Positive things are happening. There's a long way to go, with too many roster problems to solve in one offseason. Anyone with a functioning brain understands that this will take time. You don't dig out of a five-season disaster (15-65 record) in one year.

    But Kroenke deserves credit for giving the Rams a fresh start by aggressively installing new football leadership. And chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and the Rams' staff continue to work hard to make this a better franchise off the field.

    Until Kroenke agrees to an extension at the dome, he can't completely reinvent the Rams. It's not possible. The fans won't trust Kroenke, or embrace him, until they know he's staying.

    For now, at least Kroenke is trying to improve the Rams' on-field product. That's a start. And now that Kroenke won't have to worry about the Dodgers, he can focus even more on the Rams.

  • #2
    Re: Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..

    I try not to read Bernie's articles anymore. I can actually feel my brain cells dying with each word he writes. Mommy, mommy, make it stop. Make it stop!!!!!!
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!


    • #3
      Re: Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..

      Originally posted by Truth View Post
      I try not to read Bernie's articles anymore. I can actually feel my brain cells dying with each word he writes. Mommy, mommy, make it stop. Make it stop!!!!!!
      You need to try harder .. Next time you see a thread starting out with "Bernie" .. ya know .. ;)


      • #4
        Re: Bernie: Give NFL a victory, Kroenke a defeat ..

        Oh, come on...

        Its not like Bernie's articles are useless.

        Sometimes, I suffer from insomnia.


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        • MauiRam
          Bernie: Way too early to panic about Rams ..
          by MauiRam
          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...
          -06-12-2011, 11:30 AM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Kroenke Sparks NFL Chaos
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          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...
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        • AvengerRam_old
          Kroenke Loses Bid to Buy Dodgers
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          Guess we won't have to worry about the cross-ownership issue now.
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        • MauiRam
          If Stan Kroenke gets the Dodgers, doesn't L.A. get the Rams?
          by MauiRam
          Los Angeles Times
          By T.J. Simers
          February 1, 2012

          Will St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke be the one who helps steer a football team back to Los Angeles?

          I had dinner with Georgia Frontiere, where the Rams' owner chose to tell me about each of her seven husbands four too many for me to make a newspaper deadline and still explain to the people of Los Angeles how she had just won approval to move her team to St. Louis.

          I hopped into a waiting limo in Oakland, expecting to find Al Davis, but got a pair of Raiderettes instead. So I never did get around to meeting with Davis to discuss the possibility of the Raiders returning to L.A.

          Former super-agent Michael Ovitz sent a martini to my hotel room and had Tom Cruise and Jerry West call to talk football and the prospect of bringing the NFL back to town. Ovitz also asked me not to park my Ford Escort in front of his Rockingham home so no one might think he was entertaining a poor person.

          When it comes to the NFL and L.A., I find almost nothing too far-fetched. But now maybe comes the capper of them all.

          If Frank McCourt chooses Stan Kroenke as the Dodgers' winning bidder, McCourt does something that Eli Broad, Ed Roski, Mayor Riordan, Peter O'Malley and so many others could not do.

          He not only brings the NFL back to town, but he gives fans here the Rams again.

          There is no other reason for Kroenke to bid on the Dodgers, even though there are NFL rules that prevent an owner from owning a baseball team in one city and a football team in another.

          Imagine a statue of McCourt outside L.A.'s new football stadium, his arms outstretched and palms up in the hopes someone might drop a dollar or two in them.

          Crazy, I know, but no more so than driving to a dog track in Tampa years ago with the daughter, her Notre Dame roommate, Rams executive John Shaw, his wife-to-be and Kroenke all jammed into a rental car.

          I've seen Kroenke, who married the daughter of the co-founder of Wal-Mart, go pale losing a $2 show bet on some poky mutt. So I remain somewhat dubious he will be the last bidder standing after McCourt squeezes the very last nickel out of bidders.

          But I do like the idea of greeters outside a stadium as fans arrive.

          I can't imagine McCourt ripping Kroenke off, but Kroenke is the determined sort. He wanted badly to be a sports owner, and now he not only owns the Rams but the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and Mammoth as well as the British soccer powerhouse Arsenal.

          He also owns a pair of wineries, and if you owned the Rams wouldn't you need a drink?

          He has a home in Malibu, and he put together a sports TV network in Colorado, which the new owner of the Dodgers may want to do here.

          If you live in St. Louis, today is the deadline for the Convention...
          -02-02-2012, 09:48 AM