When St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased a stadium-sized plot of land in Los Angeles last week, the idea of a Rams move to the City of Angels seemed all but certain. However, Kroenke might have different intentions altogether for the 60-acre site.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shot down rumors of any NFL-related activity in the L.A. area during Super Bowl week, noting that potential suitors would have to pass through league approval first.
Kroenke’s latest actions appear to be in line with Goodell’s comments — the Rams owner is applying for a license for a new MLS franchise and could use the land for a new soccer stadium, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Kroenke already has been given permission to use the name “L.A. Gunners” as well, per the report.
Kroenke, 66, already has an ownership stake in a wide array of sports organizations, including the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, Major League Lacrosse’s Colorado Mammoth and two professional soccer teams — MLS’s Colorado Rapids and Arsenal FC of the English Premier League. The Gunners would be a sister franchise to London-based Arsenal, according to the report.
Even if Kroenke’s intention is to use the land for a new MLS franchise, the Rams aren’t exactly clear of any relocation danger. The team is still looking for the city of St. Louis to make upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome, and the franchise’s current lease will void if renovations aren’t made before the end of the 2014 NFL season. Kroenke’s L.A. purchase has been seen as a strategic maneuver to force the hand of the city.