Stan Kroenke Advances to Next Round of Dodgers Bidding

Only Stan knows what the Stanley knows.
Only Stan knows what the Stanley knows.
Billionaire sports fan Stan Kroenke has been approved by the Los Angeles Dodgers (and its investment bank) to meet with Major League Baseball concerning his offer to buy the team. Kroenke is not the only big-bucks guy to get that approval. According to the anonymous sources "very close to the sale process" of Forbes magazine's Mike Ozanian, also moving forward to the next stage of bidding are hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, an investment group headed by Magic Johnson, and media mogul and Donald Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

So Kroenke is, at least in theory, one step closer to owning another major sports team. You may remember that one of the issues confronting his purchase of the Rams was the NFL's cross-ownership rules, which state that an NFL owner can not own a major league team in any other city that already has an NFL franchise. Kroenke owned the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche at that time, and since Denver is also home to the Denver Broncos, he had to get rid of his Denver teams or not buy the Rams. The NFL took him at his word that he would comply and approved his purchase of the Rams, provided he financially divest himself of his Denver properties by 2014. Kroenke transferred day-to-day operations of his Denver teams to his son Josh Kroenke, who now serves as the Avalanche's governor and the president and governor of the Nuggets.

If you put together all those pieces, you can make a neat little picture that shows that Kroenke's going to move the Rams to L.A. if he wins the Dodgers bidding war, because he'll be in compliance with NFL bylaws with a football team and a baseball team in the same city, but not if and one's in Los Angeles and one's here.
I love a conspiracy as much as the next guy -- hell, probably more than the next guy -- but there's a couple of big ifs in that sequence of events. If he wins the bidding for the Dodgers -- and Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers notes that Kroenke doesn't like losing $2 on a bet at the dog track, so he can't quite picture Kroenke shelling out the projected $1.5 billion needed to purchase the Dodgers -- then he'll move the Rams back to L.A.

But while Stan Kroenke was in the process of bidding for the Rams, some observers floated the idea that he would transfer ownership of the Denver teams to his wife, successful businesswoman Ann Walton Kroenke. Instead he outfoxed all guessers and chose his son. Mrs. Kroenke is still in the wings, without a professional sports team to call her own. Couldn't she take a transferred title to the Rams and keep them here?

That's the problem with prognostication -- the future is a moving target. And with someone as tight-lipped as "Silent Stanley" is about his business plans, the difficulty is compounded. It's worth pointing out that regardless of the outcome of Stan's quest for the Dodgers, 2014 will be an interesting year for the Kroenke family's various sports teams. Josh may have to shell out some big bucks to officially buy the Nuggets and Avalanche from his dad (estimated values: $316 million and $198 million respectively), his dad may be earning a huge payday from his London football club, Arsenal (the team's marketing deal with Nike and Emirates expires in 2014, meaning the team will earn a large fee from either a renewal or a new partnership) and, yes, depending on a lot of what happens between March 1 and June 15 of this year, the Rams may commence their final season in St. Louis.

But only Stan knows for sure, and he's not talking.

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