Analysis of Stan Kroenke and his sports ‘franchises’

Who Is Stan Kroenke? By Dan Smith

Rumours are that senior figures at our club are talking to Mr Kroenke this week in a bid for him to free up some cash. Their objective is to make him more realistic with his transfer budget, accepting that 45-70 million can get you very little in today’s market. There are zero guarantees. He’s not just nick named ‘Silent Stan’ for his preference to avoid all interviews, but he prefers his companies to run themselves.

While it’s an emotional reaction to claim the American doesn’t care about us, it’s very hard for us to be his priority. His portfolio also includes owning the LA Rapids, LA Gladiators and Colorado Mammoth. It’s believed his wife has the same title for the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche purely as a way to obey the rules. In short though the Kroenke family oversee an American Football, Soccer, Lacrosse, Overwatch, NBA and Hockey franchises.

According to Forbes only the Rams are valued higher than us yet based in operational income we make the most yearly at 102 million. Only the Rapids come close to making him a loss meaning we are not a brand on his portfolio he will want to neglect but we might make enough for him to feel comfortable. Of course, logic says the more you put in now the bigger the figures in the long term, but he’s hardly hard up at the moment.

Based purely on making a profit on his investments there is no need for drastic change, and he would only do that out of love for the sport, something he’s never demonstrated. Under Kroenke’s leadership his teams have won 3 FA Cups, 2 NFC titles (although yet to win the super bowl), 3 division titles (no championships), The Stanley Cup, MLS Cup and the NLL title.

His biggest critics will say he was simply lucky in terms of the family he married into, Ann Walton the daughter of the co-founder of Walmart. In reality though, long before the two had met, Stan was buying and selling; making profit on bookstores…

Marriage in 1974 gave him opportunities he might not have had but to be fair he ran with them. Thanks to his in-laws he got a job with Raul Walters who had built the first Wal-Mart stores. Within 4 years they were partners, developing over 20 malls (some Walmart’s). So essentially Stan was in business with his father in law, earning millions in rents and fees. When Bud Walton died in 1995, his two daughters inherited his stock and became heiresses to Wal-Mart fortunes, Stan was added to its board of directors. But how is he viewed outside of the UK?

Los Angeles Rams
The reason you won’t hear Ram fans speak of Stan like Gooners do is he has helped bring then back from the dead to at least relevant. In 1994 Stan brought a minority stake in a team who finished last in NFC West and who’s fan base was dwindling to the point where low crowds convinced them to move away from Southern California. He supported plans of legal actions against owners of rivals who had voted to block the change of location. In 2009 when the remaining shares were put up for sale, Stan used his right of first refusal to buy the remaining 60 percent. The first use of Silent Stan came in 2015 when he failed to give any promises that the Rams would remain in St Louis. He rightly felt that the Edward Jones Stadium could not provide the facilities required for that level of football.

He ignored all compromises and decided to build a new stadium. Back in L.A on property he conveniently owns. In other words, he ignored the millions of natives In St Louis who had been devoted for the same reason he supported the original move, follow the money. In a space of a month 56 thousand season tickets were sold for the unveiling in 2020 representing a massive turnaround in interest in the Rams from L.A. Locals. Essentially Mr Kroenke was able to do for the area what the council wouldn’t 2 decades earlier. Experts feel that the move increased their value by double. That’s doesn’t help those in St Louis who have been left with a 120m bill the taxpayers will pay for an empty arena.

The Rams won the Northern Football Conference but lost in Super Bowl

Denver Nuggets
While not overly successful you could argue the Nuggets have enjoyed a boom in popularity under the Kroenke banner, ending an 18 year drought for a division title, while drafting names with star appeal such as Anthony and Iverson, guaranteeing more media coverage. Ironically one of the first things he did as owner was place the team into a trust till 2025 to avoid a repeat of what he’s done with the Rams. After buying the Rams, day to day running of the Nuggets officially was passed over to his wife and son. That might interest Gooners as it’s believed Arsenal might end up as Josh’s baby. The difference is he’s an avid Basketball fan, played it at school and therefore is around the place all the time. He even gives interviews!!

The Nuggets finished 2nd in the NBA Western Division (and lost in the Conference semifinals)

Colorado Avalanche
This hockey team came with the deal when buying the Nuggets, meaning when he acquired the Rams, day to day running was handed over to his wife. They won their second Stanley Cup in their history (in 2001) under the Kroenke’s but in last decade have failed to even get to the playoffs. The decline was out of the owner’s hands as the League tried to introduce a salary cap at the time Colorado were getting to finals. In protest players held a ‘lock out’ in 2005 refusing their salary to be based on crowds. In total 388 NHL players moved to Europe. Although others suffered financially the Kroenke’s could no longer offer the highest wages in the League.

Avalanche finished 2018/19 season in 5th place (out of 7) in the Central Division of the NHL Western Conference

Colorado Rapids
Under Mr Kroenke’s leadership the only honour in their history happened when they won the MLS Cup in 2010. In sentiments that gooners will identify fan groups have released statements questioning the ambition /direction of the club . In 2016 they finished runners up and felt from a position of strength more should have been done in terms of player recruitment. Perhaps Stan’s biggest contribution to the MLS was building a stadium more suitable for the modern game. Believing the popularity of the sport would grow, he invested 130 million to build a 19000 capacity stadium including youth pitches.

Colorado Rapids
Major League Soccer 2018
Western Conference: 11th
Overall: 21st
Playoffs: Did not qualify

In 2004 Mr Kroenke launched Altitude, a television network which gives access to the 4 Denver based Sports teams he owns. The opinion of Mr Kroenke in the US will be purely based on where you’re from. If you’re from St Louis, to this day the state is trying to sue the man for taking away ‘their football team’ and leaving them with a heavy bill. Yet are locals there not as hypocritical as those in LA?

Were St Louis feeling bad for L.A. when they adopted another city’s first love? Yet LA were quick to forget how they were chucked to one side in the nineties. For a man gooners recognise as a man not interested, he’s quick to get identify where the money is.

England would never accept you moving location based on population (we are in London anyway) but facts and figures shows it works for Stan. Creating TV stations that air/advertise his portfolio is also shrewd. In conclusion his legacy will be two new stadiums which improved those sports (one will be used for the Olympics), a way for his team to always be available on TV, while spotting the growth in Lacrosse and gaming.

There isn’t much he’s done to make a team worse, yet he will go against popular belief for money. He’s got thick skin in terms of being willing to upset Leagues, cities, the media, and of course fans if he thinks it makes financial sense.

Dan Smith

28 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Nice article

    He must surely know his club would lose many supporters if he doesn’t buy a superstar in this transfer window

    Therefore I’m waiting for Zaha to be unveiled

    1. Tuoyo Babayaro says:

      How standards have fallen: Zaha is not a superstar or world class! A very good player to have in the first team though but if Palace want to play silly b*#gers there are less expensive alternatives in France/Italy/Holland…

  2. Declan says:

    Thanks Dan for your excellent insight into the man and his franchises.
    I know you never said it but we, The Arsenal, are not a franchise like his other teams. There is no way we could be moved to Luton let alone somewhere in America. I think he does or will realise that he needs to invest to accumulate and I’m sure we could be looking at spending £100 million+ in this window. This window is his test, because if we don’t spend big we will fall further behind the pack. I’m actually more worried about Emery as he’s never been known for using young players (ok, Guendouzi and AMN excepted) at his other clubs and our team is getting old. We need to not only be targeting younger players but also give opportunities to the likes of Saka, Nketiah, Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Willock, etc.

    1. Le Coq Monster says:

      Damn !……………..I was hoping The Arsenal would be moved to Cornwall !

    2. Matovu Deus says:

      Yes Declan i support you here saka, ameach, nelson, willock and emily smith rowe they should be promoted coz if other teams can why not arsenal you never know see liverpool with alexander arnold etc…

      1. NONNY says:

        Who and who are etc

  3. Durand says:

    Kronke is facing 4 lawsuits currently. In one he lost an arbitration plea, but won lease rights in another.

    The big issue is Kronke and NFL facing potential of losing hundreds of millions if court deems moving out of St Louis violated terms of contract.

    Kronke borrowed over £500 million to buy up Arsenal shares, has loan for part of £4 billion Rams Stadium also.

    If he loses in court for millions more, how could that affect Arsenal?

    1. Could he take money out to cover loses for KSE?
    2. Would he sell some top players without quality replacements?
    3. Would he give up on CL and PL titles due to costs to compete?

    1. Le Coq Monster says:

      4) Or would he do the right thing and sell The Arsenal and make a massive return on his investment !

      1. Durand says:

        I can only wish. However he’s an egomaniac, and will bleed the club for 10 years rather than sell. He bleed the Rams in St Louis for a decade just to get his move to LA; look at Rams record during those years.

        Arsenal is a perfect bank for him; global fanbase, makes gobs of cash, and dedicated fanbase that will still give him money b/c they love club it’s in their blood.

        No financial restrictions like banks, less cumbersome financial reporting than banks, and banks required to keep a minimum of cash to cover percentage of loans and personal accounts.

        He’ll never sell the Rams or Arsenal; issue of pride and ego. IF he loses in court his army of lawyers will structure payments over years, and the Arsenal will suffer the most. Probably the “Stadium debt austerity” all over again.

  4. Adajim says:

    He wouldnt have been criticized had it been the club management is doing fine. The man only took over full control this year, what has the other board members doing for the past 15years?
    I really dont know how much other major shareholders in other top 6clubs are really injecting into d club but self sustaining model isnt totally a bad idea if properly managed.
    One has to wonder how we sell players cheaply even at their prime while others have one or 2 marque sale, i have to admit i feel jealous of Dany Levy sales, though the buys werent great but modric & Bale were good piece of business, i dont think arsenal hav had a 50m sale over the years while the likes of utd, l’pool, chelsea and even spur sold at mouthwatering prices.
    Sometime i ask where has all UCL money gone?-squandered i guess.
    Until we start been smart in business the club might remain in same spot, as i see there a lot of wastages in arsenal management, even when we get new owner , the money might just be mismanaged.
    I read Dick law interview and i felt it was childish, they knew what Suarez contract entails, 40m bid, 45m bid are ok , whats with 1pd? Though it was blown out of proportion thats y i wouldnt liken the deal to Zaha bid as i think that was firm and precise

    1. Tuoyo Babayaro says:

      I don’t make excuses for billionaires when I’m not on their payroll! I couldn’t careless about unfair criticism of Kroenke…sort out the key defiencies in the squad.

      Is that too much to act of a billionaire owner? We’re not talking of a crazy overhaul, or Mansour/Glazer type spending sprees. I don’t want to hear about the wage bill being too high.

      From the lot that played the final at Baku, Laca, Auba & Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Guendozi & Iwobi must not be messed with. Nketiah & Nelson should be given more playing time. Leno, Bellerin are the real deal and I like what I’ve seen with Holding and Mavropanos & Bielik.

      Xhaka, Kolasinac, Mhiki, Mustafi and Ozil have not fully lived up to our high expectations; Liechensteiner, Elneny and Jenko underwhelmed last season. Not still sure about Chambers. Sokratis, Koscielny and Monreal are the lead gunners in spite of the fact that the latter two might not be as effective as they used to be.

      Please no Real Madrid/Barca rejects that will blow the transfer budget or excessively bump up the wage bill; no overpriced ‘home grown’ players too. All our players should be highly improved with better coaching and game experience by the end of the season.

  5. Le Coq Monster says:

    I cannot think of a person on this planet who I hate more than Kroenke ! ?

    1. Sue says:

      So Le Coq.. in that picture of Stan…is that his wig or the beaver?!! ??

      1. Le Coq Monster says:

        Definately he`s wife`s Beaver, Sue !………..she grows a new one every month for him to keep it fresh!………..the thing on his upper lip is a hairy jack catarpillar !

        😆

        1. Sue says:

          I bet she supplies Walmart, as they sell wigs ??

          1. Le Coq Monster says:

            Do they sell them in The Armoury ?…………..The Adidas version !……….the 3 white stripes supplied from dead Skunks !

            😆

          2. Sue says:

            ???? so funny, Le Coq!

  6. McLovin says:

    If we run like a business, we are run like a terrible one!

    Buying crappy players with high fees and giving terrible players ridiculous wages (Jenkinson, Elneny etc).

    Not selling Sanchez for dozens of millions just to lose him 6months later in change for another high waged deadwood. Did you know we actually gave Mkhitaryan a raise? A friggin pay raise! And for what? Not for his United performances that’s for sure.

    1. Ahmad says:

      The Sanchez debacle can be attributed to Wenger. We could have sold to City and bought Mahrez who wanted to join Arsenal. And there would have been money left to address the defense. Due to Wenger we are now stuck with a very ineffectual player on high wages. I get really pissed off about this sorry episode.

      1. Yes Ahmad, we all get angry when we remember the botched Sanchez transfer and Ramsey walking out for free. £100M that could have been reinvested in the squad, lost.

  7. Nickerless Bender says:

    Nice insight but Didn’t Wimbledon and West Ham move locations recently without breaching any rules? Or have I mis-read that.

    Call me a pessimist but I have zero confidence in KSE and this board. So basically I believe we are fecked until we have a person who knows about football and the history of arsenal in charge.

    Mark my words no heavy investment this window we will be lucky to make the top 10 let alone top 4.

    1. Dan says:

      West Ham moved to other part of London
      What he did with Rams would be like buying Newcastle then moving them to London based on economy

      1. Le Coq Monster says:

        Actually, Dan, West Ham stayed in the same Borough of Newham, no different to Arsenal staying in Borough of Islington!……………yes, I know, I`m being pedantic !
        😆

        1. Nickerless Bender says:

          Still a shit hole though bar the casino in Stratford.

          I stand corrected.

    2. Tissiam says:

      We have people who knwos about football at the ckub like you said it is kreonke the problem!

  8. Tissiam says:

    Which money did he use to built a new stadium?ok he increased seats to 52 000.but the stadium was built in a location he already owned all he did was to increase revenues,what did he do with them?on a sporting plan he is satisfied wth mediocrity2nd places in confererences but not play offs!also there is no way he’ll move the emirates,the guy is using our club as a cash cow!robbing paul to pay peter by the way we are Paul who is robbing,recently josh announced he was taking a more pro active role in the club!anyway all i want it’s not people who won’t buy jerseys,season tickets but a proper solution to get rid of the owners for good or force them to sell or firce them to properly invest in the club,players….sadly so far no one has come up with a great plan,to all GUNNERS plesae unite and find a proper solution and i am not talking about jerseys,empty seats,..COYG!#time to take our club back!!

  9. I believe there are misconceptions that:
    1. Kroenke is bleeding the club dry – I’ve checked the 2018 Audited financials and I didn’t see any dividends paid. Neiher did I see any Director loans nor any hefty Director fees paid. In fact total Director fees paid I saw amounted to about £2.6M which am assuming was what that bumbling idiot Gazidis was earning for mismanaging the club.

    2. Kroenke wants the club to fail- Success for this club meams better sponsorship deals, more tv revenue and more commercial deals. If the club fails, the value will go down and Kroenke will lose money. So why would he not what this club to succeed? If I am to quote Kroenke he said, “I love Arsenal, love being involved with Arsenal. There is no finer feeling than going out and winning, like we did with the FA Cup. There’s no finer feeling — wonderful, wonderful feeling.”

    I believe even with a self sustaining model we can compete. A club making losses will eventually collapse when the owner gets tired of propping it up. Additionally, with the constraints of FFP I don’t understand what exactly is expected of Kroenke. Even if we changed owners today, we would still have Ozil’s wages undermining our transfer activities for the next 2 years.

    1. NONNY says:

      If you look at how other billionaires and how they run there clubs you would know kronke is all words not action saying he just took over the club a year ago, did you forget he was the HIGHEST share holder and his decision supercedes…

      I would blame him because if he was doing his duties we would not have this mess, some say it’s the people who are managing the club that is the problem save me that crap people managing the club works for someone and answeres to someone…

      Do you think Roman Abramovich know players name or a die hard fan
      No the difference is he only understand one language SUCCESS he can’t tolerate years of trophyless, champions league embarrassment etc he WOULD have fired those people at arsenal many years ago…

      Everyone has a responsibility if you think his just an owner and not a football man that he has nothing to do with arsenal present state then you missed the era of David Dein,arsenal setup has been bad for a very long time others where winning the league we where celebrating top 4 season after season after season that we forgot we are arsenal not Everton where is the ambition all those years…how long did we think that was going to keep us on top…

      Investing 50+ on laca and auba over 4 seasons are we even kidding it can only take a miracle for this arsenal to challenge for league let alone winning it..

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