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  • Kroenke Sparks NFL Chaos

    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 the NFL back to Los Angeles after a 20-year absence in the nation's second-largest media market. The move would immediately triple the value of the Rams (from an NFL-low $930 million in St. Louis, according to Forbes, to as much as $3 billion in LA) while making himself arguably the most powerful owner in sports. It could also transform the intensely private man, described by a family friend as "Midwestern, through and through," into both the Art Modell of Missouri and the king of La La Land.

    How Kroenke pursues his LA dream, then, will not only shape his legacy but the entire landscape of the NFL. The league had seemed intent on carefully orchestrating its eventual grand return to LA while continuing to use the city as leverage in a handful of other stadium negotiations. Until, that is, Kroenke cranked up the heat with his extraordinary Hollywood-style power play -- one as intriguing and audacious as the enigmatic, mustachioed billionaire at the center of it all.

    Kroenke hasn't spoken a word since the story of his relocation plans broke on Jan. 5, which is not the least bit surprising. The owner speaks publicly so infrequently that he's been dubbed Silent Stan in St. Louis, a moniker his PR rep disputed as unfair just before turning down The Magazine's interview request. When you ask NFL insiders about Kroenke, you hear a lot of descriptions like "eccentric" and "reclusive." While he is respected, and liked, in league circles, even those closest to the Rams' owner don't seem to know him very well. "What makes Stan Kroenke tick ... are you serious?" says a friend. "I have no earthly idea."

    Right now, striking it rich in LA seems to be motivating a handful of other NFL power brokers too. On Feb. 19, the Raiders and Chargers, unhappy with their own stadium situations, announced a joint plan to build a $1.7 billion stadium on a 168-acre parcel in Carson, California. Entertainment giant AEG, which had an agreement with Los Angeles to build an NFL stadium next to the city's convention center, provided it could attract a franchise, also had its hat in the ring before dropping out on March 10.

    Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, civic leaders have already countered with a $985 million stadium project, a deal they hope is rich enough to persuade, or force, Kroenke to stay home. Even so, most NFL insiders consider Kroenke the clear front-runner in the race to win the West. "The only thing that's moved the ball in LA has been Stan," Mark Fabiani, the Chargers' special counsel on stadium issues, told ESPN.com recently. "He changed the world."

    So now, after 20 years of bluffs and empty promises in Los Angeles, the NFL's Hollywood soap opera suddenly has three teams and roughly $4.5 billion in new stadium proposals. It is sure to be the hot topic March 22-25 in Phoenix, where league owners convene for their annual meeting.

    And all of it ignited by the most unlikely of leading men.

    ABOUT 200 MILES west of St. Louis, out behind the old family farmhouse where the road transitions from concrete to dirt, stands the Mora Lumber Co., built and owned by Alvin Kroenke. Stan started working there at 10. Each day after Lutheran school he'd sweep floors and help with the books, quietly correcting the mistakes he found. By the time he was a tall, lanky teenager and standout athlete at nearby Cole Camp High, Kroenke was part of the work crew that met at 7 a.m. sharp on the Rock Island Railroad platform to unload hundreds of 1-by-12 planks of lumber and 94-pound sacks of cement. If the cars weren't cleared in 48 hours, the railroad company would assess a surcharge -- something the elder Kroenke simply would not abide. "That kind of work is not for the faint of heart," says Eldon Harms, 82, who worked alongside Stan and later bought the business when Alvin retired. (Both his parents are deceased.) "We had younger guys working with us who could always find something else to be doing besides lifting those bags of cement. But not Stan. Heck of a good kid. Whenever we got a break, Stan would be over behind the house, shooting baskets."

    As a painfully shy, skinny 6-foot-2 senior forward with a high-rise black pompadour, Kroenke developed a fluid, vertical jumper, a quick trigger and, on the court at least, a little flair for the dramatic. On fast breaks during home games, teammates say, he liked to set up on the left wing just a few feet in front of Cole Camp's 200-student pep section. The team finished below .500 his senior year, but near the end of the season Kroenke heated up, notching a 22-point game followed by 33 points against Leeton, a school record that stood for more than a decade.

    After he bought the Rams in 2010, Kroenke told a reporter in Columbia that once he realized he couldn't play for a professional sports team, he decided he wanted to own one instead. "Stan was very studious, very smart and not very outgoing -- I mean you can see that even today," says high school teammate and friend William Smart, who in his 46 years at Cole Camp has been both principal and athletic director. "If I'm being honest, there was never a time in high school when we all said, 'Oh that Stan Kroenke is going to be very, very successful one day.'"

    KROENKE'S FORTUNES took off with a chance meeting while he was at the University of Missouri. In 1971, on a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, he met Ann Walton, a nursing student at Mizzou and the daughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton. "Kroenke made his money the old-fashioned way," says Scott Rosner, a sports business professor at the Wharton School who often lectures on Kroenke. "He married it."

    Ann, who is worth $5.3 billion on her own, according to Forbes, is far less a mystery than her husband. "She is warm, friendly and so down-to-earth," says UTEP athletic director Bob Stull, a former Missouri football coach who was close with the couple in the 1990s. Attending an event at the Rams' practice facility, Ann once famously parked on the far side of the lot, telling a security guard that her daddy always taught her the spots up close were for customers. The couple married in 1974 and have two children, Whitney, 37, a documentary film producer in California, and Josh, 34, who played hoops at Missouri and is now vice president of the Nuggets. (Josh technically controls both the Nuggets and the Avalanche because of an NFL rule prohibiting certain cross-sports ownership.)

    Just before marrying Ann, Kroenke earned his MBA and was awarded a paid fellowship to earn his Ph.D. But as gifted a student as he was, Kroenke knew his future was in strip malls rather than lecture halls. He left academia and went to work for Missouri real estate developer Raul Walters, who built some of Wal-Mart's first stores, making multimillion-dollar land deals often sealed with Sam Walton, Ann's uncle, on nothing more than a handshake. By 1979, Kroenke and Walters were partners in a company that had developed more than 20 retail malls across the Midwest. They implemented what would become Kroenke's basic, and wildly successful, business model: Buy huge parcels of relatively cheap land, build an anchor store, then watch the surrounding real estate exponentially increase in value.

    It was a nice run, but Kroenke and Walters had a falling-out in 1985 and spent the next few years in a bitter court battle over how to divide the company's holdings. Coming off that unpleasantness, Kroenke forged a new partnership in 1991 with an old friend, Michael Staenberg, co-founding THF (To Have Fun) Realty, a nationwide real estate development company. Kroenke spent much of the next decade close to home in Columbia, where the voracious reader and health fanatic ran 3 to 6 miles most mornings with a group of men that included Stull, then Missouri's football coach. "He was focused, bright, no-nonsense and disciplined -- that's a good word to describe Stan: disciplined," says Stull. "Stan was not one of those guys who would be slogging along, joking around, just happy to finish. He was very, very competitive and always at the front at the end of our runs."

    Kroenke, who looked to Bud and Sam Walton as early mentors, served on Wal-Mart's board of directors from 1995 to 2000. And over the next two decades, THF grew into a $2 billion company by developing more than 100 strip malls and shopping centers, many of them, again, anchored by Wal-Marts. But in early 2013, the buddies who initially just wanted To Have Fun were at each other's throats. They ended their partnership in St. Louis County Court. Along with a variety of disputes regarding the breakup of their company, the two multibillionaires fought 
over items as relatively small as a $250,000 fitness center lease. Kroenke even accused Staenberg of locking him out of THF's computer system.

    By then, Kroenke was already scooping up every sports franchise he could get his hands on -- a quest, it's been suggested, rooted in a desire to prove that his empire wasn't built through matrimony alone.

    His dynasty, however, started with a valuable lesson about the inner workings of the NFL. In 1993, when the league expanded, Kroenke was persuaded at the 11th hour to try to save the pitch of a potential ownership group in St. Louis. The unwieldy bunch, which included a host of local businessmen as well as Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, was beset by big egos and infighting and in danger of falling apart. Just days before they were due to present the NFL with their plan, Kroenke was brought on to provide stability -- and money. "With Kroenke in the picture, St. Louis seems almost sure to get 21 of the 28 required votes from the club owners," The New York Times reported. But according to Jeff Pearlman's book Sweetness, when the NFL heard the pitch, it was a disaster. Roger Goodell, then a league vice president, reacted by telling them, "Get this s--- together. This is ridiculous. You're there if you can cut the squabbling."

    They couldn't. The owners were equally underwhelmed by Kroenke and his group. The teams were awarded to Charlotte and Jacksonville -- a city, as Pearlman notes, one-eighth the size of St. Louis and the 55th-largest television market.

    It was a rare and embarrassing misstep that didn't sit well with the proud and hypercompetitive Kroenke. It was also another lesson in the dangers of finicky partners. "He made the presentation and the NFL kind of looked at Stan like, 'Who is this guy?'" says Stull. "Nobody knew him."

    From then on, Kroenke would make sure they did.

    IN 1995, KROENKE paid $80 million for 40 percent of the Rams when they moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis, with the guarantee that if the rest of the team ever went up for sale he'd have first dibs. In 2010, that opportunity arrived: He spent $450 million to purchase the remaining 60 percent of the team from the heirs of former longtime Rams owner Georgia Frontiere. "I'm born and raised in Missouri," Kroenke told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time. "I've been a Missourian for 60 years. People in our state know me. People know I can be trusted. People know 
I am an honorable guy."

    For Kroenke Sports Enterprises, though, success has always seemed less about connections to home or even W's and more about the dogged pursuit of profits extracted from, in real estate parlance, "the dirt" -- the land under everyone's feet. According to Rosner, the Wharton professor, Kroenke's level of immersion in sports ownership is unprecedented. It's not just horizontal, across several sports and continents, but vertical as well, from the billion-dollar stadiums down to the broadcasting rights and ticket fees. Rosner divides owners into two categories: "win maximizers" like Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones, who are in it largely for the ego kick, and "profit maximizers" like Kroenke, who are in it because sports teams turn huge profits. "Where would you rather be?" asks Rosner. "St. Louis, where the market for your sport has historically been average, or LA, where the valuation of your business would skyrocket to $3 billion, easy? You go to LA. You'd be a fool not to."

    Rather than relying on the NFL to micromanage the LA market or, worse, anoint a beneficiary the owners deem worthy, Kroenke has forced the league's hand and triggered a land rush. On Jan. 5, the Los Angeles Times first reported that Kroenke, who already owned 60 acres near the Forum in Inglewood (purchased from Wal-Mart in 2014), had teamed with Stockbridge Capital Group to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium as part of an enormous complex on the 300-acre Hollywood Park site. The deal made Kroenke the first and only NFL owner of an existing team to own land in LA. He's had his eye on this spot since as early as 2012, when potential Rams employees were asked about a franchise move during interviews. Later in January, he got even more aggressive, converting his stadium lease in St. Louis to a year-to-year deal, which means the Rams could be free to leave town as early as 2016. "He's got the land and he's got the money," says one NFL exec. "Stan's guns are loaded."

    Kroenke's expansive plan for the site, which includes retail, residential, office and hotel space as well as a 6,000-seat theater, perfectly aligns with his well-honed business model: For his anchor tenant, he has simply replaced the Wal-Mart with an NFL stadium. It's also precisely the kind of splashy statement the NFL has always had in mind for its return to Los Angeles. What's more, Kroenke's vow to privately finance the project garnered tremendous support in cash-strapped Inglewood, where on Feb. 24 the city council voted unanimously to approve the $1.86 billion stadium. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. called it "the best financial arrangement in the history of stadium deals in this country." After a 5-0 vote that let Kroenke bypass what could have been a lengthy environmental review at the site, football fans dressed in the team's blue and gold colors chanted "LA Rams! LA Rams!"

    Right now, the biggest obstacle to making that happen isn't Oakland or San Diego but, of all places, St. Louis. Initially, Kroenke and the city had been $575 million apart on the renovation plan for the Edward Jones Dome. Since then, St. Louis has come back with a new proposal for a state-of-the-art, open-air stadium in the city's blighted north riverfront section that includes $400 million in public financing. The plan has a lot of potential pitfalls, the least of which is getting Kroenke to the table now that he has one foot in the California sand. But there is growing sentiment inside the league that after a year of gaffes by the NFL front office, the last thing it can afford to do is alienate more fans while leaving a pile of stadium money on the table. "Goodell won't let Stan move to LA," one NFL owner told ESPN. "Because Goodell would catch holy hell for moving a team from a market willing to spend hundreds of millions to keep a team."

    It's not clear at this point what role, if any, NFL approval will play in Los Angeles. Dallas owner Jerry Jones has already said that Kroenke doesn't need the NFL's permission to move the Rams. It's an opinion backed by federal antitrust laws and argued in court by Al Davis, who moved his Raiders franchise to LA in 1982 and then back to Oakland 13 years later. Kroenke could follow that lead. It would be an ugly, drawn-out public spectacle, and the Rams would be a lame-duck franchise for years. But in the past, and with far less at stake, Kroenke has never shied 
away from a fight in court. For the time being, Kroenke's camp is saying he won't go against the NFL's wishes.

    Just in case he changes his mind, Steelers president Art Rooney II, speaking in February for the NFL's new de facto Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, reminded Kroenke that NFL bylaws still state that all franchise relocations require the approval of a super-majority (24 of 32 owners). This is the much easier route, and the process of lobbying for those votes will begin in earnest on March 22. Among all their fellow owners, Kroenke, Chargers president Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis will be working the room in Phoenix, gauging votes and gathering input and support for their own relocation plan while simultaneously working to sabotage their competitors. In other words, it's the kind of weekend retreat Frank Underwood would love.

    At first glance, the Chargers would seem to have the upper hand. The Spanos family has owned the franchise for 30 years and has managed to build up a lot of influence (and sympathy) inside the league while trying for 14 years to get a new stadium built in San Diego. What's more, schmoozing and glad-handing don't exactly seem to be Kroenke's forte.

    He need not worry, though. In NFL circles, that extra comma in Kroenke's net worth, as well as his daring leap to secure LA and a global sports empire, speaks volumes. "He might be Silent Stan," says a former NFL executive. "But Kroenke's kind of power and profile makes the other owners swoon."

    If Kroenke succeeds, it would be the perfect Hollywood ending for the quiet kid from Mora. He'd have marquee franchises in London and Los Angeles, a legacy far beyond Wal-Mart, billions in profits and, finally, recognition as the most powerful man in sports.

    All without having to utter a single word.

  • #2
    Re: Kroenke Sparks NFL Chaos

    He's speaking....

    Can't recall another meeting where kroenke was talking in the hallways with fellow owners like this

    — daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) March 23, 2015

    Kroenke working jets and Tampa Bay owners. Charm offensive from rams owner. pic.twitter.com/X7EAVoNSzM

    — daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) March 23, 2015

    Comment

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    • 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
      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
    • Tampa_Ram
      A great article on Kroenke
      by Tampa_Ram
      Found this over in another rams forum. Enjoy


      The Most Powerful Man In Sports ... You Had No Idea, Did You? Stan Kroenke

      SPORTS' ULTIMATE KINGPIN IS AN UNASSUMING REAL ESTATE TYCOON FROM CENTRAL MISSOURI WHOSE PROPERTIES, FROM THE NFL'S RAMS TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE'S ARSENAL, ARE WORTH SOME $4 BILLION. HE BOUGHT THEM FOR SHEER LOVE OF THE GAMES—AND BECAUSE THEY PAY OFF
      L. Jon Wertheim
      The Directors Box in London's Emirates Stadium gives new zest to the phrase luxury suite. Arriving on a private elevator, guests are greeted by an attractive hostess, shown to tables with floral centerpieces in the opposing team's colors, and seated in chairs upholstered in leather that has been dyed Arsenal red and embossed with the club's logo. They eat smoked fish imported from Scandinavia, burrata cheese from Italy and lamb from the British countryside, all washed down with champagne from France. As the Gunners' players and 60,000-plus fans, most swaddled in red scarves, brave a cold, rainy, heartlessly gray afternoon, the denizens of the Directors Box bask in warmth, comfort and conviviality.

      The received wisdom that soccer truly is the world's sport is confirmed by the cast of characters in the box. British dignitaries mingle with soccer royalty. Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, sits at a back table. A mere half hour before the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers kicks off, the Gunners' own manager, Arsène Wenger, a mystical Frenchman, makes an appearance, shaking hands with other guests, who include a marketing executive from Dubai, a knot of Russian businessmen and, improbably, DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association. As if the theme of globalization and multinationalism needed further reinforcement, LED screens ringing the perimeter of the pitch flash a team diversity initiative, ARSENAL FOR EVERYONE, translated into various languages—Hebrew, Arabic and Korean among them.

      As the game is about to start, the most important figure in this international barony walks through the suite doors: a lean man wearing a gray pinstripe suit that looks to be flannel, a white shirt, a solid black tie and cowboy boots, his ruddy face set off by a caterpillar of a mustache. His entrance could scarcely be less conspicuous—he's talking quietly to another man, who turns out to be his son—yet it causes an immediate drop in ambient volume. Enos Stanley Kroenke, a 65-year-old son of Mora, Mo. (pop. 491)—"The Ozark/Osage region," according to him; "about 16 miles south of Sedalia," according to Wikipedia—has arrived, bearing a complement of toothpicks in his breast pocket.

      Kroenke soon grabs a black Nike ski parka and ventures onto the exposed terrace, where he can better concentrate on the game. His hands forming...
      -12-11-2012, 12:31 PM
    • GreatestShow99
      No chance of a comeback
      by GreatestShow99
      No chance of a comeback
      By Dane Watkins / January 21st, 2015
      Between the two of us, my father and I have witnessed nearly every moment of the pitiful pro football on display in St. Louis over the past 55 years, first with the Cardinals, and then with the Rams. But for the first time in my life, we will not be renewing our season tickets with the Rams.

      The Rams have broken my heart year after year, disappointed me, and left me wondering why I spend my money and my time watching them play. It’s been a part of my life since I was three years old.

      Unfortunately, recent events have changed all that. I never thought I would stop watching the Rams, but what transpired over the past few weeks was too much to endure.

      Stan Kroenke, owner of the Rams, has decided the team will be playing football in Los Angeles soon. While nothing is official yet, the Rams are as good as gone.

      Kroenke has the money (he’s one of the richest human beings on the planet, and his wife “Princess Wal-Mart” is worth more than him), he has the land (a however-many-acre plot in Inglewood, California with space not only for a stadium but room to develop parking lots and mini malls to accompany the field and fatten his wallet) and he has the team.

      People have tried telling me not to worry—that it’s presumptuous to think the Rams will leave, that there’s no need to fret yet. They say the NFL has ruled out submissions to relocate in 2015—true, but not in 2016. They say the NFL owners wanted to control the LA market and that they don’t trust or like Kroenke. They say the NFL’s own bylaws prohibit a team from re-locating unless they have negotiated “in good faith” with the home city. They say it’s too early to say anything for certain.

      Please. To believe the Rams will be in St. Louis in five years is incredibly naïve.

      Firstly, the other NFL owners may not like Kroenke, but they do like money. And a team in LA would mean more money for them.

      The NFL has owned the LA market for 20 years and done virtually nothing with it. Never before has such a viable owner, location and team been available for relocation.

      It’s hard to move a team to Los Angeles; the real-estate market is a mess and the taxes are astronomical. But Kroenke already has the land, and can afford the taxes. They might not like him, but he can make them more money. A team in the second-biggest TV market in the United States will bring in more cash than a team in St. Louis. It’s simple and unfortunate math. If the LA Clippers are worth $2 billion, how high might the Rams’ stock rise if they were to move?

      As for the NFL’s bylaws, they aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. They were designed to keep people from owning professional sports teams in different franchises and thus tamper with different markets.

      But the NFL is already making exceptions for Kroenke...
      -01-25-2015, 10:58 AM
    • 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
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