NFL may have added poison pill to arm-twist Kroenke into okaying Chargers move to L.A.

Multiple insider-type NFL columnists (Mike Florio, Kevin Acee) are reporting that, according to league sources, there’s a poison pill of sorts in the agreement to move the St. Louis Rams to L.A. that could help encourage Stan Kroenke to cut a deal with the San Diego Chargers to play in his new Inglewood stadium: The league has barred Kroenke from starting to sell naming rights, club seats, PSLs and sponsorships until 2017 — unless he brings in a second team before then, at which point he can start selling those immediately.

If true, this is really fiendishly clever of the NFL owners. Without this clause, Kroenke would have almost no incentive to offer a fair deal to shack up with the Chargers, since he’d know he’d have them over a barrel. Instead, he now has a carrot for an early agreement — as does Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who’ll know that the sooner he signs on to Inglewood, the better a lease he’s likely to get from Kroenke.

Spanos now has a big decision to make, because under normal circumstances he’d want to use the Inglewood threat to try to force San Diego into upping its stadium offer, but since that would likely have to wait for a public vote in November, it would eat up all of his leverage with Kroenke. One report that Spanos and Kroenke are already hashing something out was immediately shot down by a Chargers spokesperson, but team execs have otherwise been silent on their plans.

Meanwhile, more of those “league sources” tell Acee that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is interested in maybe moving his team to San Diego — either at a new stadium or a renovated Qualcomm Stadium — and, and … you know, with all these unnamed-source leaks and so many factions still in play, it’s really impossible to know what’s truth and what’s people trying to spin perceptions, so let’s just stop there. Instead, enjoy Rams and Chargers fans telling Deadspin all the ways they’d like to see Kroenke and Spanos die gruesome deaths.


27 comments on “NFL may have added poison pill to arm-twist Kroenke into okaying Chargers move to L.A.

  1. Hey Neil. Wasn’t there some talk awhile back that Spranos had some unsatisfactory meetings with the rams owner? And that there is some question as to whether spranos trusts him? As well, I think I recall reading somewhere that the rams owner does not have a good track record wrt how he treats his business partners

  2. I don’t think they even got as far as unsatisfactory meetings. Anyway, if this report is true, it matter less whether Kroenke is a jerk than how desperate he is to get his PSL money now so he can start construction. (Though having $7.5b in net worth does mean he can float himself a loan until 2017, worse comes to worst.)

  3. I don’t think it’s a “poison pill” so much as it is trying to preserve some sort of ownership role for a presumed second team.

    The Rams only got the votes to move because Kroenke agreed to take on a partner in the new stadium. That was a given. But the Chargers and Raiders aren’t quite done trying to extort their current home markets, so they’re not ready to join him in LA. Yet.

    So here’s the problem – any second team in Kroenke’s stadium will be a second-class tenant unless that second team’s owner gets in on all the details and deals that make bank. That is to say, “naming rights, club seats, PSLs and sponsorships”. So the NFL is telling Kroenke that he has to wait on selling those until he has a partner, if he’s indeed going to have one.

  4. I think that Stan Kronke has the answers to theses questions; How much are the stadium naming rights worth with just the Rams, Rams/Chargers, or Rams/Raiders? How much will luxury suites go for with the Rams, Rams /Chargers, or Rams/Raiders? And how will the PSL’s be sold as, separately for each team, or one price for both teams, and once again what will be the breakdown of the costs? With those answers in hand Mr. Kronke has the top position in any negotiations.

  5. After reading that article regarding the PSLs sold in St Louis, I really think those holders should sue the Rams and the NFL. That’s a lot of money to spend for a now-worthless piece of paper.

    Every one of those PSL holders should either assert their right to buy season tickets in LA, or to sell them on their own. I suspect those who elect to sell PSL rights would make a boatload of cash. If the NFL and the Rams denies that right, PSL holders should sue.

  6. Looks like the Rams thought of that:

    “…..Agreement remains valid only as long as NFL Football is played at the Stadium by the RAMS, up to a maximum of thirty (30) years.”

    http://www.ramsrule.com/herd/read.php?5,130022,130073

    The Rams also appear to have been the team that changed the name from “permanent seat licenses” to “personal seat licenses,” so they were clearly thinking ahead. As they should have been, with that state-of-the-art opt-out clause in hand.

  7. OMG, Piggy. It’s worse than you thought…

    The NFL is now extorting members of it’s own club instead of the general public… I mean besides Davis, of course. They’ve always been happy to snub him when they could.

    I wonder if MD has the moxie to pull a Frank McCourt/Donald Sterling and become so generally unpalatable to all that he has to be bought out at 3-4 times his franchise’s actual value as punishment?

  8. I have to say, looking back, it’s pretty extraordinary how much Dean Spanos botched this. He seems to have been supremely confident that his sob story would be enough to keep the NFL away from Los Angeles. And in order to strengthen his position he alienated his home market to the same extent that Kroenke did. The only difference is that Kroneke had money, land, an actionable plan to build a stadium in the LA area, and the ruthless business acumen that comes with having made billions of dollars (how self made those billions are is a little up for debate). Spanos in comparison, had none of these things, but he acted towards San Diego as if he did and he held all the cards the same way Stan did. And now that his hail mary has fallen short, he’s now left with a home market that hates him, a stadium that is not his, and a partnership that is entirely on the terms of his self made enemy.

  9. A couple of things:

    1) So Stan wouldn’t be able to get those inflows now, but he could easily borrow the money for a year.
    2) If San Diego can’t get a deal together that works for Spanos why would they be able to get one that works for Davis?
    3) Various sites have mentioned Toronto as a possibility for Davis. How? Outside of the Edmonton arena Canada hasn’t been known to throw major dollars at stadiums.

  10. “And now that his hail mary has fallen short, he’s now left with a home market that hates him, …”

    I wonder if this will be a factor in how quickly things move in Rams-Chargers negotiations. If they wrap them up soon, would the Chargers be able to join the Rams in LA next season? One or more lame duck seasons in SD would be pretty miserable. (Just did some Googling, apparently they have an annual opt-out period February 1 to May 1.)

  11. Aqib:

    The NFL Toronto dream is completely dead.

    The Bills’ experiment was a complete disaster, there is no way in hell that any politician at any level will give $1 for an NFL stadium, and (perhaps the most important point) that aforementioned $1 is only worth 70 cents (US) right now.

    So as much as we Torontonians would like to pick up the torch from LA as the city most cited as an alternative for NFL shakedowns, I’m afraid we cannot accept. Have you tried calling St. Louis?

  12. Aqib:

    But just out of curiousity, which sites are suggesting Toronto?

    Can you please provide a link or two?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Davis has only used two cities to threaten to move the Raiders to….LA or San Antonio. The St. Louis plan was already shot down by the NFL and Toronto will never get a team as long as the Bills are in Buffalo.

    St. Louis has put forward a plan for a $1.1-billion riverfront stadium, but Goodell’s report said that proposal’s financing package includes a request for league funding that is $100 million in excess of the maximum provided under current league policy. In their application, the Rams said no NFL team would take the St. Louis deal.

  14. Of course, the NFL has now agreed to provide that $100m over the maximum for stadiums in Oakland and San Diego. So, “policy.”

    Rejecting the St. Louis bid was a pro forma move to allow the league to let the Rams move if it wanted to. It doesn’t say much one way or the other about what another owner would or wouldn’t accept.

  15. Yep,nix a team moving to Toronto. The Canadian dollar has been falling in value against the US dollar & if Buffalo didn’t shock and awe the locals no one will. Can’t see the good people of San Diego opening their hearts and wallets to those hated Raiders either. Does having 2 teams in LA saturate the product? Do the Rams win by getting a tenant shouldering the cost but lose by overestimating growth projections in tickets,psl’s,naming rights and having to share a market with another team? My Stan what a swell mess you’ve gotten us into?

  16. Steve,

    I can’t find it now but I saw it on espn, bleacher report, and SB Nation. I guess part of it is because Mark Davis said “America and the world are possibilities” I had heard it on a podcast a few months ago. I know why it wouldn’t work, the Toronto Star said as much this weekend. While I don’t think the Bills series is a good test case (Toronto isn’t a Bills town just because its near by), I can’t see someone putting up over a billion dollars and the government won’t kick in which is why I thought it was odd.

  17. I love how people hold the NFL up as a fine representation of free enterprise and such (e.g. Rush Limbaugh), but it really is socialism and dictatorship – from the above down to limiting player movement.

  18. Aqib: There certainly have been cases of public funding for stadia in Canada… in the relatively distant past both Montreal’s olympic stadium, Toronto’s skydome and BC place were fully publicly funded, along with the Saddledome (or Olympic Saddledome as it was once called). Saskatoon also built a 13-14k hockey arena in 1982/3, ostensibly for the St. Louis Blues… who managed never to arrive.

    You’ve already mentioned the Edmonton financial sinkhole underway (and let’s not forget Quebec), but in recent days Hamilton’s football stadium was publicly funded (notionally for the 2015 Pan Am games, but let’s face it… it was for the Tiger Cats), BC place just underwent a $500m + renovation for the Lions (more than three times what the original building cost as I recall) and Winnipeg’s new football stadium ($200m more or less, all publicly funded). Saskatchewan is also building a new stadium for the Riders.

    So while Canadians like to say we don’t do that… we do… really quite a lot. We just like to pretend we are smarter than that… but apparently we aren’t. Other than the full blown government managed disasters (Skydome and Olympic Stadium in Montreal), I’m not sure any of them will be at the same level of awful that some of the US deals are… but then, you have more deals all round down south so that stands to reason.

  19. Aqib has been wrong about a lot of things in this relocation to LA process despite his overconfident assertions (“that’s not how the world works”) but he’s right about the NFL’s interest in the Toronto market. Goodell began talking about it almost a year ago.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25122688/goodell-talks-la-toronto-relocation-at-owners-meetings

  20. John: Canada gets props for usually making its sports venues pay property tax like a regular building, though.

    IkeBruce: I’d say “Toronto’s an important market but all of Canada is and Mexico” is just due-diligence threatmongering. It’s like Mark Davis saying “We could play anywhere in America” — translation: “We could go anywhere, so don’t mess with me, pal.”

  21. John a lot of those are in the past. I’m originally from Toronto the Skydome basically killed the appetite for a while for major league teams. Sure they threw money at BMO Field but MLS is a minor league as is CFL for that matter. Edmonton and Quebec are really the only post-Skydome major league ones that got government funding. Although Toronto did give the Raptors land for a practice facility but if I recall correctly that came with an agreement to let the public use it when the Raptors aren’t. I remember the Senators had pay for the exit ramp off the highway for theirs. In any case if its a billion dollar NFL stadium I can’t see Toronto putting that up. Maybe if they were bidding for the Olympics and that was part of it but otherwise no.

  22. Ok here is one link. It specifically mentions Toronto: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14571001/rams-return-los-angeles-asking-answering-10-questions-stan-kroenke-coup

    It just doesn’t make sense to me so I wonder where it comes from.

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