Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A short discourse on the sale of the Rams

Yahoo's top ranked search Tuesday 10/13/2009

I visited Yahoo's front page this morning to consult their financial section regarding the state of current interest rates on real estate. My company provides those rates to Yahoo. I have full database admin rights. I could perfectly well look them up myself right here, but we have an agreement with Yahoo. Our guys are supposed to use their site.

To what did my wandering eye did appear? The St. Louis Rams are actually the top-ranked search on Yahoo's search rankings. This hasn't happened since Kurt Warner blew up in 1999. We out-shot Hedi Klum for the title. Shocking. So how does an 0-5-0 team in the cellar of the NFC West get to the top of the Yahoo search pages?

Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson are pissed that Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the team, that's how. Ah shit... What else can go wrong this year? Fuck... Now we have three (count 'em three) of the world's biggest assholes slapping each other over my team. Please, fuck off and die; all three of you shitheads... especially Jessie Jackson. Jessie is a crap-hound and a manwhore. If Rush pays him $50k, he'll go away, just as he did with NASCar. I think they are all demagoguing this as a publicity stunt.

So without further ado, let us look dispassionately at the facts and assess the situation. I am not thrilled by the prospect of Rush owning the Rams. At the same time I am not concerned about this because I do not regard it as a serious probability. Let me tell you why.

Rush vs. Kroenke: bullet for bullet.

Rush is a poor boy folks. They talk about his vast fortune from broadcasting, and they have no idea what real money looks like. Let me tell you about real money and real pole position.

Enos Stanley Kroenke owns 40% of the Rams. Kroenke has the right of first refusal on any sale of Ram stock. This means he can match any bid, and he gets the stock. Kroenke is estimated to be worth $3.5 billion dollars. This puts him higher than #163 on the Forbes 400 for sure. His wife, Anne Walton, is a Walmart heir. She is thought to be worth more money than he is. It is rumored that Kroenke also holds a poison pill. If he does not like the new majority owner, he has the contractual right to force this new owner to buy his 40% of the stock.

Rush owns exactly 0% of the Rams. He is not worth $3.5 billion. Most people believe his total collective assets are worth far less than $1 billion. By the world's standards, he is not all that rich. Rush is not married. Last time he was married, it was to an Aerobics instructor he met on CompuServ. Do you remember CompuServ?

Kroenke needs to come up with approximately $550 Million liquid cash to close the deal. Rush just might need to come up with $929 million to do the deal. Kroenke just might drop the poison pill, remember?

Now in a financial shoot-out between Rush and Kroenke who do you think is going to win the day? All of you Las Vegas handicappers are laughing your fucking asses off right about now. You might as well put the Indianapolis Colts up against the JV team at East Podunk High School. This is a mega-blow out. Kroenke wins, hands down. It ain't even going to be a close call. It will be worse than Super Bowl XX.

Kroenke holds all the cards. The end of story. Rush better hope that Kroenke loves him, or there is no play on the Rams for Rush.

The Fly in the Ointment

Kroenke owns a lot of sports franchises. He owns the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. He owns the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL. He owns a sizable chunk of the Arsenal FC in England. He also owned the Colorado Crush when there was such a thing as Arena League Football. He was partnered with John Elway and Pat Bowlen in this affair.

The NFL has bylaws which forbid ownership of professional franchises in other leagues... at least if they are in NFL cities. That was the latest ruling when they decided they wanted Paul Allen in the club. Kroenke would run afoul of this rule. Most of his toys are in Denver. This is Pat Bowlen's turf.

However, Bowlen is a buddy, and presumably a political advocate. They have been partners. If Bowlen advocates Kroenke, I think Kroenke is in the owner's booth. Unattributed and unconfirmed rumors say that NFL HQ will waive the cross-ownership restriction for Kroenke. He would seem to be the sort of guy they want in the owner's booth.

So you see, my friends, this PR flap is much ado about nothing. It is an opportunity for political manwhores to jiggle their junk in front of the camera for all to see. The Rams belong to Kroenke if he wants them. I think he does. Rumor has it that he bought 40% to secure his position in line to buy the team. He expected Georgia to sell or die sooner or later. His angle has been well played. He is now about to reap his harvest.

Ed Roski Jr. has been given the greenlight

Ad meanwhile, Mr. Edward P. Roski Jr, ranked #163 on the Forbes 400 with about $2.5 Billion in networth, has been given the green light to go forward with his new $750m to $800m stadium in Industry California. Make no mistake folks, this is L.A. County.

A settlement has been reached in Walnut's lawsuit against Industry. The story is fascinating. When the City of Walnut raised lawsuits against Industry over the environmental impact of a new stadium construction, the State of California Legislature immediately threatened to pass an exemption for Roski, so that he could go forward with the plan. Shortly afterward, crushed opponents agreed (under duress) to terms of surrender. If they hadn't negotiated a surrender, the State would have castrated them legally anyway. It was a no-win situation.

What does this tell you about the situation? Powerful forces in California want this deal to happen. They want an NFL stadium in L.A. county. Presumably, this means they want an NFL team in Los Angeles, and they would like Super Bowl 50 here also. They want it done with private money. They want the stimulus that this construction will bring. Believe me, the politicians are 4-square behind this.

Now you explain to me why Mr. #163 on the Forbes 400 list risks a sizable share of his megar $2.5 billion to build an NFL Stadium when there is no NFL team in the Los Angeles area? I'll tell you why.

There just happens to be a team for sale right now.

The band that would not die

A certain director named Barry Levinson has made a film about the Colts moving to Indianapolis and the Browns becoming the Ravens in Baltimore. It is called "The Band that Would not Die". It is set to air tomorrow on ESPN. The theme is about how devoted fans cope with the loss of their teams when they move.

I know a little something something about that. I lived through 1995, you know. My Rams left town for St. Louis. Now it looks like they might do precisely what the Raiders did before them. They might return home. It is funny how many gaffs I have heard lately on the NFL Network, Fox broadcasts and ESPN where seasoned sports casters (like Rich Eisen) call my boys the Los Angeles Rams. Now why in the hell do you think they are doing that?

This is on everybody's mind folks. I'm telling you, this is on everyone's mind.