NFL Executive OK with Billionaire Owners Squeezing Taxpayers for New Stadiums

Appearing on the Bernie Miklasz Show in St. Louis, NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman personified the public-relations problem unleashed by crony capitalism. 

St. Louis sports talker Miklasz told Grubman during a 40-minute interview that if he were St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke—worth close to $8 billion—he would accept the $300 million in taxpayer money from the people of St Louis and not try to leverage their burden upward to $400 million to ensure a stadium deal.

Deadspin reported that Grubman thought Miklasz’s suggestion a “ludicrous fantasy” and considers it “unfair” to bring up Kroenke’s net worth.

Grubman told the host, “You’ve always made the business argument, and now what you’re trying to do is make a business argument with emotion. It’s not gonna fly… Life is: [Kroenke’s] got options. Everyone has options, and they have to weigh those options against one another.”

Kroenke’s choice to stay in St. Louis or move the team to California remains undecided. Besides the Rams, Kroenke Sports Enterprises owns the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.

Twenty years ago,Missouri, St. Louis County, and the city of St. Louis raised hundreds of millions of dollars to build the Trans World Dome, now the Edward Jones Dome, to lure the Rams from Los Angeles (Anaheim, actually), which had lured the team from Cleveland after World War II. Despite the relative youth of the $300 million structure, Kroenke, who purchased a stake in the team after it moved to St. Louis, wants a more state-of-the-art facilityand perhaps a larger market to support his franchise.

St. Louis lost the Cardinals, which they poached from Chicago, to Phoenix after the 1987 season. The city hosted the Gunners, which entered the NFL midway through the 1934 season, and the All-Stars, which folded from injuries with a game left in the 1923 campaign. Neither team completed a full NFL season.


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