Saturday, June 11, 2011
Stan Kroenke, the Rams and Los Angeles
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the recent Orange County Register story mentioning the St. Louis Rams as a potential candidate for relocation to Los Angeles:
- Having Los Angeles as a potential option gives the Rams leverage with St. Louis as they seek an improved stadium situation for the long term. In response to the Register's story, the Rams told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they remain "focused on working on a lease" with St. Louis. The Rams have not said anything that would limit their options or diminish their leverage, however.
- The leader of the Los Angeles group, Philip Anschutz, is reportedly "prepared" to acquire a majority ownership stake in a team for the purposes of bringing it to Southern California. I doubt the Rams' new majority owner, Stan Kroenke, would be looking to sell the team so shortly after buying out former majority owner Chip Rosenbloom. He could always try to move the team on his own if he could get a better stadium deal elsewhere.
- The Register's story says the Los Angeles group has "spoken" with five current NFL teams, including the Rams. Anschutz's group likely initiated the discussions with Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland, Jacksonville and the Rams. There is nothing to suggest the Rams are pursuing a move. But Kroenke has no reason to discourage Los Angeles' interest, either.
- The Rams' lease with the Edward Jones Dome gives them an out after the 2014 season. The Los Angeles group hopes to have its stadium ready for the 2016 season.
- Kroenke should be fully versed on the situation in Los Angeles. As of March 2010, the NFL lists him as part of its eight-member Los Angeles Stadium Working Group. The others: Jeffrey Lurie (chairman), Pat Bowlen, Woody Johnson, Jerry Jones, Bob McNair, Steve Ross and Steve Tisch.
These sorts of stories aren't going away until the NFL has a team in Los Angeles. The Rams will remain a perceived candidate to move there until their own stadium situation firms up. For the time being, however, nothing appears to have changed.