After the failed expansion attempts in STL for a new a NFL franchise, city leaders were pushing hard for a reward after piling millions into the nearly open TWA Dome.
Georgia Frontiere was looking for greener pastures out of LA because she couldn’t get a stadium deal done. During the ’94 season the Rams became a lame duck in LA. Attendance tanked, fans tuned out, they saw the writing on the wall. They all knew what was coming and they didn’t even put up a fight (except for a slight few) to try and keep the team. The Rams made an initial attempt to move out of LA which was disapproved by the NFL owners. Then when STL officials were given the go ahead by city leadership to everything necessary to land a franchise in STL they went all out and sold their soul in the process.
Sad thing is and this is just my opinion, St. Louis already had the Rams if they had made a better attempt at negotiating the lease with the Rams, instead they gave up the farm in order to land a team that could’ve been theirs for a lot less than the sweetheart deal that was given. St. Louis payed $15 million in relocation fees, The Rams got a $260 million dollar stadium, a $15 million dollar practice facility in Earth City and a $250,000 yearly lease, St. Louis also ate the Rams’ $30 million debt to LA and all this to land a team in the Lou.
As you can see everybody’s good old buddy Georgia that so desperately wanted to come home to STL to save Football was a farce. She made millions in the process of coming “home” the Rams went from operating at a $9 million dollar loss a year in LA to a $20 million dollar profit a year in STL. Say it ain’t so Georgia! Oh, it be so! So after the slam dunk of expansion just kissed off the rim, officials gave away the farm for magic beans that barely grew and were half rotten.
In ’95 when the team moved Georgia sold a 40% stake in the team to Stanley Enos Kroenke the wealthy real estate tycoon hailing from Columbia, Mo.
He bought the 40% stake for, get this, $60 million. That’s right, you read that correctly. Then when the unfortunate passing of majority owner Georgia Frontiere passed away from cancer in 2008 the Rosenbloom children became de facto owners of a team they didn’t want. They started shopping the team and Shahid Khan places the winning bid to buy the team, but OUTTA NOWHERE COMES STAN KROENKE!!! He put the kibosh on Khan’s attempt to buy the team and exercised his right of first refusal which was in his contract when he bought his 40% share. He purchased the remainder of the Rams for $450 million. If you do the math he’s in to the tune of $510 million on a franchise value at the time in 2010 of $750 million. He knew he was going to move then if not planning contingencies before the fact.
Kroenke was in this for the long haul. He was in this like an investment property, knowing it would triple in value if he moved it to LA LA Land and then he be rolling in it.
Just think of it this way, if it wasn’t for all those untold millions and millions that the Rams made off of the backs of taxpayers they probably wouldn’t have ever sniffed a Super Bowl, let alone make it to the playoffs. That influx of ministry support is what made it float, and when the lake dried up, they pulled anchor and sailed out of town back to LA.
So who was Frontiere? Savior? Money grabber?
What was Kroenke? The Grinch That Stole Football? Ebenezer Scrooge? That piece of food stuck between your teeth?
Frontiere did bring football back to St. Louis albeit selling her soul, or 40% to the devil to get it, well, maybe devil is a little harsh…..then again, no it isn’t.
Thanks for reading.
N The Zone Network contributor