St. Louis may despise Stan Kroenke, but the NFL loves the owner of the Rams franchise.
The real estate mogul decided to move his team out of the Midwest and into sunny Southern California, a move that has Missouri residents steaming and LA fans ready to welcome “their” Rams back “home.”
Kroenke is a rare breed, even for a billionaire sports team owner. He not only has a football team, but he’s also the owner of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Right, and he also has a majority stake in the Premier League’s Arsenal soccer club. With all these ball clubs to manage, it’s a wonder Kroenke has any time to get any work done. Though he must. The guy’s worth nearly two billion.
So why does the NFL love him so much? Because the owner is moving his team to Inglewood, California and building a brand new stadium on his own dime. No public money, no juice from the NFL. He decided to do it, and, instead of putting his hand out, he reached in his own pocket.
The project will include the stadium site as well as 238 acres of commercial land next to it costing a pretty penny. Kroenke expects to invest $1.8 billion in the 80,000-seat stadium as well as public parks, residential spaces, and office complexes.
A huge new project and a brand new stadium in a massive market is exactly what the NFL wanted. LA has long been a key destination for an NFL franchise. While teams in San Diego and Oakland split the demo of LA fans’ loyalty, many stayed loyal to teams, like the Rams, who once called LA home.
That means Kroenke’s team will come (back) to LA with an established fan base. And, if they win, they are sure to peel some fans back out of the Chargers and Raiders camps. When the 2016 season kicks off next August, it will be a brand new day for the NFL in Southern California, with potential billions in revenue on the table, and the NFL will not have spent a dime.