Kroenke investment worries just got worse as fans of the LA Rams get a $24m payoff in the ultimate story of fan betrayal.
Oh dear, try not to laugh, if at all possible. Invisible Stan Kroenke has just been ordered to pay $24m to LA Ram supporters in St. Louis, the former home of the team.
Stan decided to move without affording any consideration to many of the fans who were also seat licence holders.
As a result, infuriated fans filed a class action lawsuit against the Rams owner because they’d purchased the rights to their tickets at ‘The Dome’ for a period of 30 years.
The lawsuit petitioned for 30% of their original purchase price, significant damages and a full refund for the nine years that the Rams didn’t play in St. Louis. Whoops, that hurts.
If any Arsenal fans are toying with the idea of supporting Kroenke or feel in the mood to forgive him or give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they should read the award winning book ‘The Billionaires Club’ by James Montague.
Montague outlines the subterfuge of Stan Kroenke, who put profit before fans and decided to deprive St Louis of its local team, regardless of the impact.
The reaction was furious, not least from the city’s Democrat mayor Francis Slay, who had convened a task force to recommend a $1 billion waterfront stadium in downtown St Louis in order to keep the Rams in the city.
“Let me do something Stan Kroenke did not – thank the St Louis fans of the Rams. St Louisans stood by their team, supporting them through far more losing seasons than winning seasons. The NFL ignored the facts. They ignored the loyalty of St Louis fans. They ignored a viable plan for a new stadium,”
“The NFL sent a loud and clear message: their home cities and hometown fans are commodities to be abandoned once they no longer suit the league’s purposes,”
“I have no real interest in the NFL.”
The fact is that Kroenke will say what people want to hear when he actually talks, which isn’t very often. He is a man that will look after his own interests rather than pay respect to the history of a club and it’s followers.
Montague continued to shed light on shady Stan by revealing:
“Kroenke had simply done what others had done before him: found a place that would offer the best deal for the greatest profit. That place was Los Angeles. Kroenke had bought a 40 per cent stake in the LA Rams and had been an integral part of the same consortium that took them to St Louis in 1995, and into the then brand new Trans World Dome, a 70,000-seater state-of-the-art, covered stadium built at a cost of $301million, paid for by St Louis’ taxpayers. As was a $30 million renovation 15 years later.
“I’m born and raised in Missouri,” Kroenke told the St Louis Post-Dispatch when he was seeking approval to purchase the remaining 60 per cent of the team in 2010.
“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 honourable guy.”
“But then suddenly, for Kroenke at least, the stadium wasn’t good enough any more. Negotiations with the city for a new publicly funded stadium failed. So, in January 2016, the NFL voted 30 to 2 to allow the Rams to up sticks and move back west. “This has been the most difficult process of my professional career,” Kroenke said in a statement after the decision was taken.
Now and again, I come across a vociferous Kroenke supporter on social media who praises the American’s business acumen and strategies.
They normally state that Arsenal fans are witless and ignorant to the long term vision and plan, but I’m sure people in St Louis would advise Arsenal fans to show a level of extreme caution where Kroenke is concerned.
Sadly, this latest story is a victory for fans in America, but it may have some impact on Arsenal’s immediate plans for the future.
Kroenke is also quoted as being indifferent to success and that it’s not the main objective. Montague tends to clarify that position beautifully when he says:
“American football profit isn’t necessarily based on success on the field of play. The Cowboys have not reached the Super Bowl in nearly 20 years. Instead, they have increased their wealth thanks to booming TV contracts, clever sponsorship deals and an unusual form of protectionism. Essentially, the NFL is a cartel of 32 teams untroubled by failure unless it is a failure to make money. There is no promotion or relegation, nor any fixed geographical identity.
Any history is connected to the brand, not necessarily the city that hosts them, allowing owners to shop around from host to host and state to state to get the best deal for its franchise, largely in the shape of tax breaks for building their stadium.”
That explains that then. Kroenke purchases commercial vehicles that generates continuous streams of revenue through its brand appeal. We call them supporters, although that revenue is becoming secondary to sponsorship, television income and other endorsements.
Kroenke sold the fans from St Louis down the river and he’d do the same to Arsenal, if he hadn’t already done so.