Stan Kroenke is the grey man in the room , the man who everyone recognises but no one knows. On the surface, he’s an entrepreneur and sports fan, a man who wants success for the clubs in his portfolio but in reality, he is a man who loves the colour of money and someone who will always take out more than he ever puts in.
When Kroenke took over the NFL outfit “The Rams” he soon realised that there wasn’t much glamour in keeping them in St Louis. Ignoring the devoted fan base , he upped the whole operation and moved it to LA , where the sun always shines and excess abounds.
This relocation wasn’t for the benefit of the team , it was to increase the profile of the brand and to allow greater financial opportunities. In a nutshell , it made Kroenke more money.
That move alone , says much about Arsenal’s majority share holder and highlights his views that sport is an opportunity to make a healthy return on an investment because it has so many revenue streams.
Arsenal fans should be acutely aware that only Uzbekistan billionaire Alisher Usmanov , is all that stands between money man Stan to prevent him from becoming the unopposed owner of this historic club.
Would that be a bad thing ? I suspect it would , on the evidence of what you’ve just read , who’s to say that Arsenal couldn’t be relocated to the MLS for instance.
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How legal that idea would be and how realistic is subject for discussion but the point is that Kroenke can do whatever he wishes should the Russian part company from the north London club and that is a major concern.
How long before Arsenal’s traditional red and white strip is covered with the names of multiple sponsors and resembles a formula one drivers race suit or he decides to change the name of the club to something more American like ‘The Arsenal hell cats’ or ‘ The Arsenal Panthers’ , yes , it makes the stomach turn like the drum of a washing machine but it is something that one would expect from the money orientated popcorn king of the NFL.
He would of course be aided and abetted by his chief henchman, Ivan Gazidis , the dark lord the premier league who would sell off his gran if he thought it was part of a sound financial strategy and that he wouldn’t face some form of prosecution.
“Kroenke is not a football fan. He has not been brought up to enjoy football.”
“He’s more into American football and has his franchises in America. He is at Arsenal for one reason – to make money.”
“Not being in the Champions League will affect them because they’re losing out on so much revenue, but whether that’s going to change anything…”
“As long as the balance sheets are looking good, I don’t think he’s too worried about what happens [on the pitch].”
‘Kroenke noted that fans in the Premier League were willing to travel similar, if not greater distances to watch their team. The 68-year-old noted that such remarkable displays of customer loyalty ensured that plenty of revenue could be generated, with Arsenal already charging the most in Europe for their premium season tickets.’
He quotes Kroenke in full business mode:
“What did I learn specifically [from England]? You learn very quickly what that brand means,”
“We have a gentleman who comes to Arsenal games, he flies his helicopter from South Africa, Cape Town to London quite often. It’s just an example of what a brand can mean, and what we can do in sports.”
You will notice that the American hardly refers to Arsenal as a team or club , preferring to use the word brand , which says it all.
“We’re all working on that and that’s the big opportunity. Michael Jordan showed it – you can get paid a whole lot more if you can extend your brand. Manchester United showed it. They established benchmarks that people had thought heretofore unattainable, but their brand extension made people want to pay for it.”
Brand or club , Arsenal actually need an owner with genuine passion. Say what you like about Roman Abramovich but he is a Chelsea fan that wants to win regardless of what it costs.
Kroenke is the opposite , a bean counter that has a financial interest in a commodity but he is not adverse to the ‘brand’ reimbursing him for his time. Sir Chips Keswick did his best to justify a £3m payment that was made to money man Stan for his “strategic and advisory services”
For a man with no experience of the premiership and one that has his paws on a prized assent, Kroenke is on a nice little earner for doing very little.