NFL Approves Stan Kroenke's Plan to Retain Rams, Transfer Nuggets and Avalanche

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 7, 2015

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke walks in the hallway during a break of National Football League owners meeting, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The proposed riverfront stadium in St. Louis has a naming rights deal worth $158 million that hinges on the city having an NFL team when the facility opens. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/Associated Press

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke won't be spread thin any longer with stakes in multiple major sports as he prepares his NFL franchise for a possible move to Los Angeles.

Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday the NFL owners approved Kroenke's plan, which includes transferring his ownership of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the NBA's Denver Nuggets to his wife and Wal-Mart fortune heiress Ann Walton Kroenke. The couple's son, Josh Kroenke, will now run those two teams.

NFL rules state an owner cannot own an additional major sports team in another NFL city, current or otherwise. Stan Kroenke had to leave his interests in Colorado behind for L.A. to even be a possibility, but he's still allowed to keep the Rams despite his inquiries into Los Angeles.

"The league doesn't allow an owner to own an NFL team in one city and another pro sports franchise in another," Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk wrote. "This deal was a condition of Kroenke buying the Rams in 2010, and these things take some time because of the complexity of estate law."

According to the Times report, San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Kroenke spoke about potential locations for a new NFL stadium in Los Angeles in 2013. Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register reported what Spanos had to say regarding the L.A. situation Tuesday morning: "I think this is still a work in progress and we still have a ways to go. Carson is where our focus is. Carson is where we think the best site is."

The Chargers and Oakland Raiders have proposed a $1.8 billion stadium in Carson, California, while Kroenke has purchased a parcel of land for a $1.86 billion stadium site in Inglewood.

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report weighed in on the prospective implications of the NFL returning to Los Angeles:

Brent Sobleski @brentsobleski

NFL's race to Los Angeles is fascinating. Would it be a safe assumption at this point to think: Rams, Chargers to LA & Raiders to St.Louis?

Whether the Rams remain in St. Louis or ultimately become a Los Angeles reboot, there's reason for Kroenke to be enthused about the team's outlook overall. It has drafted well over the past several years, built a terrific defensive line and seems to have nailed its recent top choice in running back Todd Gurley.

The Rams have struggled with consistency and play in a tough NFC West division, but they appear capable of hanging with any team. It comes down to whether Nick Foles can be a viable solution at quarterback—something St. Louis hasn't had since Marc Bulger succeeded Kurt Warner.

Moving to Los Angeles could well make the Rams a more attractive free-agent destination, which will only aid the front office in building a talented roster already comprised of promising young players.