Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke has opened his chequebook to lay the groundwork for a new NFL stadium in the United States.
According to the LA Times last week, the Kroenke Group successfully invested £1.1m ($1.7m) in an effort to fast track a stadium proposal in Inglewood, California. Kroenke is seeking to build a £1.2b ($1.9b) stadium – a prerequisite for bringing the Saint Louis Rams back to the Los Angeles area.
Citizens for Revitalizing the City of Champions, is the organization created to carry out marketing the proposal as well as getting it as a referendum on the ballot for voters to approve. The money went towards marketing (on-line and newspaper adverts) and consulting costs. As a result, the Inglewood City Council approved the project last February without it ever going for public vote or an environmental review.
Those familiar with the NFL may know that the Rams, originally from Cleveland, moved to Los Angeles in 1946 and remained there though the 1994 season. They played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and in Anaheim, where they won one league championship and played against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV (20th Jan, 1980).
They moved to Saint Louis, Missouri in 1995 amid a losing record and a general lack of public interest in the team. The Rams went on to appear in two Super Bowls: winning one (Super Bowl XXXIV versus the Tennesee Titans, 30th Jan 2000) and appearing in one other (Super Bowl XXXVI versus the New England Patriots, 3rd Feb 2002).
Kroenke assumed ownership of the team in January 2010 after transferring ownership of his other US franchises to his son Josh Kroenke, per NFL rules. Art imitating life, fans of the HBO series Entourage will likely remember that the series’ final season began with Ari Gold’s push to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles, later that summer.
Because of deals and restrictions made by the prior owner, problems exist for the Rams to remain in their current stadium. As a result, Kroenke began plans on returning the team to Los Angeles, developing property purchased for approximately £57-63m ($90-100m) back in January of 2014.
All told, Kroenke has spent upwards of £65m at the prospect of spending another £1.2b to build a stadium for the NFL Rams.
So much for the general perception that he doesn’t invest in his sports ventures.
Perhaps us Arsenal fans had him all wrong? Or, does he do what most smart businessmen do and delegate the parts he doesn’t want to deal with (transfers, player relations, etc.) to those that can?