What is he thinking about here?

1992, 1993, 1994, 2012, 2013 . . .

In the world of Los Angeles football, these years are in perfect sequential order: the 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th, and 51st seasons of the Rams franchise in the City of Angels. Am I a bit ahead of myself? Perhaps. There is a decent shot that the Rams will not come home until the 2013 season, but don’t be shocked if after a sixteen hear hiatus, the Los Angeles Rams celebrate their 50th season in Los Angeles next fall. With the news coming out of Los Angeles and St. Louis that Stan Kroenke has made a bid to become the next owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, there is no doubt anymore: the Rams are coming home.

Of course the Rams organization cannot say this because they may still be in St. Louis during the 2012 season (at this point, I believe that is unlikely though) and they would prefer to play in front of crowds of about 30,000 fans than 12-13,000. St. Louis sports fans will get up in arms saying that there is no way the Rams would leave St. Louis and that the market is too great. Sound familiar? That was us in 1993 and 1994; there was NO WAY that the Rams would leave their home of almost fifty years that just so happened to be the second largest market in the country. Guess what, it happened. Against all rational thought and the loads of cash that was being thrown in a particular woman’s direction from Southern Californian interests. It was inevitable that the Rams were going to leave in 1994 . . . they should not have been allowed to go and looking back it was one of the worst moves in the history of professional sports, but it was still inevitable. The Rams move from St. Louis is inevitable and it is time that the CVC and St. Louis just realize this and let the Rams move home as soon as possible. Not to sound to cruel, but perhaps St. Louis should not have made a deal with the devil (John Shaw) to steal the Rams away from Southern California.

While the Angels and the Rams were connected through Anaheim Stadium, the Rams and the Dodgers shared the Coliseum from 1958-1961

While it seemed very likely that the Rams were going to give Los Angeles a very serious look a few months ago, and that Kroenke would try to use the city of Angels as leverage to get a better deal in St. Louis, his actions have gone beyond negotiation tactics. One does not simply put in an OFFICIAL bid to a Los Angeles-based baseball franchise that could go for as high as 1.5 billion dollars to squeeze out an extra jumbotron at the Edward Jones Dome. It seems to me that Kroenke has made up his mind and it is not a matter of if the Rams will move, but when. The National Football League has a rule in place that says that bans cross-ownership if someone wants to own two major sports franchises in two different markets. This is why Kroenke had to give the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche to his son when he bought the remaining 60% of the Rams from Chip Rosenbloom. Kroenke could, however, purchase a professional team within the St. Louis market or even purchase a team that is in a market that does not have an NFL team. Last time I checked, Los Angeles does not have an NFL team so Mr. Kroenke could theoretically own both the St. Louis Rams and the Los Angeles Dodgers without violating any rules. HOWEVER, if an NFL team (say the Chargers or Vikings) were to move to Los Angeles, then he would all-of-a-sudden be in violation of the cross-ownership rule. How does one get around this possible sticky situation? Why, move the Rams to Los Angeles so there will be no (and can never be any) cross-ownership violations.

If Kroenke ends up winning the LA Dodger sweepstakes, then there is absolutely 0 (ZERO!) chance that the Rams stay in the midwest because he will not want to get stuck in  a dispute with the NFL. He also understands that as the owner of the Dodgers who was able to get rid of Frank McCourt, and the guy who brought the Rams home, he would be a local hero in Southern California. Even if he does not win the Dodger sweepstakes, Kroenke clearly knows that value of the Los Angeles market and how much he could gain by returning the Rams franchise to its rightful home. Some estimates say that the Rams by them selves would almost double in value to around 1.6 billion dollars if they were to move back to Southern California. Kroenke is looking to get into the Los Angeles market and the Rams most certainly fit the bill. When the St. Louis CVC comes out with the clearly inadequate renovation proposal, it will not take Stan Kronke long to reject the proposal, buy out the rest of the Edward Jones Dome lease, and have the Rams home in Los Angeles for the 2012 (at the latest) 2013 season.

—Andy Hogan


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