SBD/Issue 151/Franchises

St. Louis Fans Not Yet In Support Of Stan Kroenke As Rams Owner

St. Louis Fans Want Stan Kroenke To
Express Desire To Keep Rams In City

As Stan Kroenke moves forward with his announced intention to purchase the Rams, a "backlash continues to grow over the absence of comments or statements by Kroenke about a commitment to keeping the Rams in St. Louis," according to Jim Thomas of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. KTRS-AM host McGraw Milhaven is "asking fans to boycott Rams games if Kroenke doesn't make some kind of statement about keeping the team in St. Louis by the start" of the NFL Draft this Thursday. Milhaven said, "Is this guy committed to St. Louis? I'm not asking for his tax returns, I'm asking for him to make a comment. We're not country bumpkins here. We're not going to support somebody and then have him leave town." Sources contend that Kroenke is "concentrating fully on trying to complete his purchase" of the franchise from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, despite a report that he asked Flex-N-Gate President Shahid Khan for a fee in return for letting Khan proceed with his effort to purchase the franchise (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/20). As of presstime, 65% of 2,923 respondents to a Post-Dispatch poll said that they would prefer Khan to be the majority owner of the Rams (STLTODAY.com, 4/20).

I SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS: In St. Louis, Howard Balzer writes Rams fans are wondering whether Kroenke has "any real passion for sports or whether for him it is all about making a deal and amassing an empire." The "key question is what Kroenke really wants" with the Rams, and "no one knows, because true to form, he isn’t saying." Balzer: "Does he truly hope to convince the NFL to allow a transfer of ownership of the Denver interests to his wife, Ann? Is Kroenke waiting to see if Khan can attract partners to help him pay Kroenke to stay, or raise enough to buy Kroenke out at more than $300[M] and really make him go away?" (GLOBE-DEMOCRAT.com, 4/20). Also in St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz wrote Kroenke is a "full-contact businessman" and will "follow the money." His business history "makes it plainly obvious that E. Stanley Kroenke is going to do what’s best for E. Stanley Kroenke." Miklasz: "This doesn’t make him evil -- it makes him a shrewd and tough businessman" (STLTODAY.com, 4/19). The POST-DISPATCH's Bryan Burwell writes the "more you see how cutthroat Kroenke's business strategies are, the more urgent it seems to me that Khan ultimately finds the economic wherewithal and additional investors to make Kroenke go away." Kroenke throughout this sale process has "already clearly and dramatically demonstrated that he cares about two things -- himself and his money" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/20).

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