It appears that the sale of the St. Louis Rams is taking the final turn and heading down the home stretch. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are considering three different bidders for the franchise or considering keeping the team for themselves. A decision is expected to be made by April. If you are a St. Louis Rams fan this is both an exciting time and a very nervous time. It could mean the continuation of a great relationship or the beginning of the end. What happens by April will go a long way in deciding the route this franchise is going to go.
What is most important, in the short term, is that the franchise will have a clear sense of direction moving forward. The Rams are plagued by inability to have long term planning from a business perspective. Everyone at Rams Park denies it, but it is human nature to not be bold with moves if the new boss is coming in or the current boss is on shaky ground. Hopefully whatever owner takes over will spur smarter and bolder moves both on and off the field. Both have been highly suspect over the past 5 years.
Long term the bigger question is who becomes the owner?. Is it going to be someone who will keep the team in St. Louis? Is it going to be someone with deep pockets? Is it going to be someone who wants to move the team to Los Angeles or even London? Is it going to be the Rosenblooms’ or even Stan Kroenke who winds up with the team after all? Lots of questions and no one is tipping their hand quite yet.
The biggest wild card in the whole situation remains Stan Kroenke. Does he want 100% ownership? Does he want to divest himself totally? Does he want to remain as a minority owner with 40%. As much as the decision by the Rosenblooms’ is important the Kroenke situation is just as interesting. He has as many cards in the game as the Rosenblooms’.
My belief, at this point, is that the Rams will be sold to one of the unnamed groups. I am almost 100% certain that the Rosenbloom’s are not keeping the team. You don’t put your house on the market if you are not planning to sell. The same goes with a football team. I don’t think that Stan Kroenke will buy the team either. I don’t think that Kroenke will buy up the other 60% and I don’t think he can get the other NFL owners to waive the cross-ownership rules.
I still don’t believe the Checketts group has the deep pockets to make this happen. They have the resolve, but I just don’t think that will happen. It will be interesting to see who those other unnamed, and out of town, groups are. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of football in St. Louis if it is sold to someone out of town. The NFL is still very viable here in St. Louis and until there is a real option in Los Angeles or elsewhere the team is not going anywhere. That is not to say that it can’t happen in 5-10 years but it will take some time to have that happen.
We’ll see what happens but at least we know this….the Rams ownership situation will be resolved in the next 4 months.
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