On Monday, Stan Kroenke and the NFL took a huge blow in a St.Louis courtroom. He, and other team owners, will be forced to give up access to their financial records.
In 2017, the city of St.Louis, St.Louis County and the St.Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority filed a lawsuit against the NFL.
The plaintiffs claimed that the league violated its own relocation policies when it allowed the Rams to move to LA in 2016. In response, they demanded upwards of $1 billion in damages due to lost revenue.
The trial has seen its share of postponements, and is finally set to begin in January 2021. However, recent developments may mean that the case will be settled before then.
The presiding judge ruled yesterday that there is enough evidence to justify giving access to the financial records of the NFL and team owners to the plaintiffs. The probe into this information is expected to help assess punitive damages.
(Apart from Kroenke, the other team owners involved are Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, John Mara, and former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson).
Since it’s expected that none of these people want to open their books, a settlement is looking increasingly likely. Kroenke paid other owners $645 million just to grant his team’s move to LA, and might have to dish out a figure in that range if he wants to see the lawsuit go away.
Who is Stan Kroenke?
Enos Stanley Kroenke is an American businessman who owns Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, a holding company that controls a number of professional sports teams.
He was born in Mora, Missouri, and went on to make a fortune in real estate and other business ventures. He is also married to Ann Walton Kroenke, an heiress to the Walmart fortune.
Before the Rams lawsuit drama, Kroenke was caught up in another controversy. Another team he owns, Premier League side Arsenal FC, were one of the 20 European clubs who founded the disgraced breakaway European Super League earlier this year.
Football/soccer fans from all over the world saw this as an attack on the beautiful game, and voiced their strong disagreement with the proposed league. Eventually, the venture was scrapped, but it left a bad taste in the mouths of Arsenal fans.
They came out in huge numbers to protest Kroenke’s ownership of the club, hoping to force him out. However, his son Josh apologized to manager Mikel Arteta and announced the family would not sell Arsenal.
The full list of teams owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment includes:
- Los Angeles Rams
- Denver Nuggets
- Arsenal F.C.
- Arsenal W.F.C.
- Colorado Avalanche
- Colorado Rapids
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Guerrillas
- Colorado Mammoth
- Colorado Crush