Bernie Miklasz has an update on the Rams ownership situation. He’s pulled a lot of great information from all of his sources, so head over to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch web site to read the full article, but let’s take a look at a few of the interesting bits.
Several out-of-town interests are pursuing the franchise. And indications are that the potential buyers have communicated a desire to keep the Rams in St. Louis. For example, one potential buyer lives out of state but has business interests here and is thought to be pro-St. Louis.
I guess you could assume that most of the billionaires ready to purchase an NFL team do not reside in St. Louis. I’m sure if the Rams were purchased by a owner from out of town, we would hear all the spin about how he or she loves St. Louis and is going to keep the team in St. Louis forever. But, empty rhetoric and promises would not keep the Rams in St. Louis and there would always be the chance the team would bolt to the potentially lucrative market of LA. I’ll understand if an out of town owner comes in, but it will make me nervous none the less.
Between now and October 2013, Rosenbloom and Rodriguez are obligated to pay interest on the estate-tax bill. They are not required to begin making payments on the principal until Oct. 2013. At that point, the pressure to sell the team would increase, but the source stressed it would still be possible for Rosenbloom and Rodriguez to keep the Rams. An expected increase in the capital-gains tax (in 2010 or 2011) doesn’t help Rosenbloom and Rodriguez, but the source insists that isn’t an important factor in the sale timetable.
Yikes, this is some serious tax stuff for a sports article. What I’m getting from this is that the bill does not come on the Rams until the end of 2013, but they could find a way to pay the bill and keep the Rams. So, the sale is not urgent and the search team can take their time to find the right owner. This is an interesting point, which is contrary to a lot of what we have read about the ownership situation. The Rams current owners can wait
After the jump, let’s meet the two key players for St. Louis.
First, Stan Kroenke, the mystery man.
Stan Kroenke, who owns 40 percent of the Rams, has remained silent. To buy the available 60 percent, Kroenke would have to convince the NFL to change the rules prohibiting cross ownership. … Because if he agrees to stay on as the 40 percent partner, the new owner would have to buy only 60 percent of the sale price instead of all 100 percent. If Kroenke stays on, his presence could be a big boost to local efforts.
Mr. Kroenke needs to stay with the Rams for a player like Dave Checketts (who we will see later) to buy the remaining 60%. Stan Kroenke is a key player in the whole ownership situation, and he is deep pocketed, but he has other interests. He owns both the Nuggets and Avalanche in Colorado and owns a minority share of the Arsenal soccer team in London, England. (As an aside – if Mr. Kroenke wants someone to switch lives with him, or possibly just hang out with him or join his family, just let me know!) As Bernie enumerates later, Kroenke is building shares of Arsenal possibly for a full takeover, for which he would need a lot of cash. He could cash out his shares of the Rams in the sale, or he could stay put. I would think there is still a lot of money in his coffers. Everything is up in the air with Kroenke and he may be the key piece to the Rams staying in St. Louis and we know nothing about what he is planning to do.
Enter stage left, Dave Checketts, the St. Louis hero.
According to media reports in Salt Lake City, Checketts is selling 49 pecent of his MLS franchise, Real Salt Lake. The transaction could raise as much as $50 million. Checketts’ spokesman says the sale is unrelated to the pursuit of the Rams. But the timing is certainly curious, given that Checketts has been raising money in his quest for the Rams.
Checketts is doing his own fund raising, and I don’t buy it for a minute that this has nothing to do with gathering the funds to buy the Rams. Checketts is St. Louis’s hero because he would keep the Rams in St. Louis for the long haul and he already knows the lay of the land and the local power brokers as the owner of the St. Louis Blues. However, everything is not roses and puppies with Dave Checketts’s group either. He appears to need more money to solidify his bid, witness the flirtation with Rush Limbaugh from a few weeks ago.
Checketts wisely staked out an early position as the best local bet to emerge with the Rams, but his presence may be causing other St. Louis ownership players to defer and stay out of the game.
Checketts is the leading candidate from St. Louis, but is he scaring off other potential St. Louis buyers? I find it hard to believe that anyone who is capable for purchasing the St. Louis Rams would stay out of the race because Checketts put his name out first. Checketts obviously has issues with his bid and he is not a lock to become the next owner of the Rams.
This is my charge, St. Louisans with billions of dollars. Join Checketts to push his group over the top, or create your own group to keep the hometown St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. Don’t just sit on your thrones made out of stacks of bills!