St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has large property holdings across the US and elsewhere. But his latest real estate move may provide a clue to a potential relocation for the franchise, according to ESPN.
The Rams have been in St. Louis since their move from Los Angeles in 1995, and with the departure of the L.A. Raiders to Oakland that same year, Los Angeles has been without an NFL franchise for nearly 20 years. That could be set to change, however, following St. Louis Rams’ owner Kroenke’s purchase of 60 acres of land in Inglewood, California, just southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
In addition to the Rams, Kroenke has holdings in numerous sporting interests, notably the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, plus two soccer teams in the Colorado Rapids of the MLS and Arsenal of the English Premier League. As of September 2013, Kroenke has a net worth of $5.3bn according to Forbes.
He is also known to hold vast tracts of land with non-sporting purposes, and as such the purchase of land in California could be unrelated to any potential move for the St. Louis Rams. However, the fact that the Rams’ current situation regarding the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis is so uncertain means it’s tempting to imagine a connection between the NFL franchise and Kroneke’s latest land deal.
Due to a dispute between the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, from 2015 the lease on the Edward Jones Dome will revert to an annual renewal rather than the longer-term deal currently tying the franchise to St. Louis. The Commission want to retain the franchise in the city but have been unwilling to sanction the $700 million upgrades required to ensure the lease remains on that longer-term basis, by making it one of the top-tier stadia in the country.
As reported last year by NBC Sports, any talk of a potential franchise in London following the successful overseas games of recent years leads to chatter from LA about how they’re missing out on the action. A city the size of Los Angeles, with a strong history with the NFL, is often mooted as a potential home for any franchise looking to move. With their own connections with L.A. it’s clear the St. Louis Rams would be welcomed back to their former base, and Kroenke’s latest real estate deal may prove an intriguing clue to the future of the winners of Super Bowl XXXIV.
Then again, should the NFL continue to be a huge success in the UK, given Kroenke’s London connections through Arsenal FC, you should never rule out the prospect of the St. Louis Rams becoming the London Rams somewhere down the line.
Image of Rams cheerleaders from Wikimedia Commons.