The St. Louis Rams Owner: 10 Things You Need To Know About Stan Kroenke
Enos Stanley "Stan" Kroenke is the sports mogul you've probably never heard of—mostly because he buys up U.S. teams that people previously didn't care about.
Monday, Kroenke surprised most NFL pundits by announcing his intentions to purchase the other 60 percent of the St. Louis Rams. He previously owned 40 percent and was rumored to be selling that off. Not so fast, my friend.
He made most of his money in real estate development, mostly by building shopping centers. His THF Realty is one of the top 20 retail developers in the U.S.
While he's made it a habit to stay out of the limelight, we unearthed 10 slides worth of need-to-know information on the least boisterous billionaire you'll ever meet.
But Kroenke quickly turned that cash into fueling his true passion for sports.
Married to Wal-Mart
Kroenke is married to Anne Walton, one of daughters of Bud Walton and an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune.
Stan has leveraged that personal merger into becoming the developer of many of the plazas adjacent to Wal-Mart stores.
Ann met Stan on a Colorado ski trip in 1971. Sam and Bud Walton immediate took a shine to their future son-in-law and invited Kroenke along on bird-hunting trips during which the Walton brothers would visit potential Wal-Mart sites.
He's Big Into the Other Football, Too
Kroenke is the largest single shareholder of the English football club Arsenal with 29.9 percent of the shares.
There's a lot of folks sighing relief in the U.K. today. Kroenke is just 10 shares away from owning 30 percent, enough to enable him to begin a takeover bid.
The Brits were assuming Kroenke was selling his 40 percent of the Rams to free up money to gobble up Arsenal.
No. 117 And Rising With a Bullet
Kroenke is listed at No. 117 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans of 2009. His net worth is listed at $2.7 billion.
Kroenke celebrated his inclusion on the list by buying this fly pair of Aviators.
He Got In Vince's Crosshairs
Stan's been a WWE storyline, too.
Wrestling fans remember that "Monday Night Raw" was scheduled to air from the Pepsi Center in May 2009. Only problem was that that game four of the Nuggets-Lakers playoff series was scheduled for that night.
Vince McMahon responded to the hubbub by pulling Kroenke into the ring.
"Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs, obviously Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25 date for a potential playoff game," McMahon said.
McMahon ended up moving "Raw" to the Staples Center in L.A. and got into it with a Kroenke lookalike with Jerry Buss, Jack Nicholson and David Stern lookalikes in the front row.
He's A Nuggets Guy, Too
Kroenke lives in Columbia, Missouri, but has heavy ties to Colorado.
In 2000, he became majority owner of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center in Denver.
In 2002, he got into Arena football, partnering with John Elway and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to buy the Colorado Crush.
Mammoth, Altitude and Rapids, Oh My
2004 was another big year of expansion for the Kroenke sports empire.
He bought the Colorado Rapids of the MLS and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.
Then Kroenke launched a cable sports network, Altitude Sports and Entertainment, and put all his teams on the network. Cha-ching once more.
Kroenke Bought the Eagles, Too
The Eagle bottles, anyway.
In 2006, he teamed up with money manager Charles Banks to buy the Napa Valley winery Screaming Eagle.
One of his first decisions there was to pour $2 million worth of wine down the drain because he was not satisfied with its quality.
Free Throws One of His Few Failures
In a BusinessWeek profile of Kroenke titled "The Sports Mogul You've Never Heard Of," writer Matthew Boyle highlighted how much Kroenke truly can not stand to be center of attention.
In ninth grade, during a basketball tournament in central Missouri, Kroenke's coach tapped him to shoot a free throw for a technical foul," Boyle wrote.
"Normally a deadeye shot, Kroenke was unnerved to be playing in front of so many fans. 'My knees were knocking,' he recalls. 'I missed the free throw and was useless the whole tournament.'"
A Very Public Failure
Kroenke's become a very private guy largely because of his very high-profile flop.
Stan was the face of the failed bid to bring an expansion franchise to St. Louis in 1993. He was largely panned by the Midwest media.
"I was somewhat naive—not in a business sense, but as far as the whole public side of it," Kroenke told BusinessWeek.
His over-the-top efforts to avoid anyone remotely associated with sports writing has earned him the nickname "Silent Stanley."
Cattle Now, Cricket Later
Kroenke has recently taken an interest in gobbling up cattle ranches.
He's also rumored to be looking into a professional cricket league in India.
His purchases aren't sexy and he's not Steinbrenner in the pomp and circumstance department.
But Kroenke's 20 years worth of sports moves have made him enough money to buy the Yankees and still have enough left over to buy another soccer team or three.