Stan Kroenke is truly an example of the “American Dream” at work.
Kroenke, who recently celebrated his 71st birthday on July 29, is one of the most well-known sports owners in the world. He came from humble beginnings, as he grew up in Mora, Missouri, and learned the value of hard work early. Kroenke’s first real job was working for his father; he kept the books and swept floors for his dad’s business, the Mora Lumber Company, a lumber yard and hardware store.
Kroenke, whose full birth name is actually Enos Stanley Kroenke, a nod to St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall-of-Fame players Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial, attended the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he would earn his bachelor’s degree and master’s in business administration.
Regarded as a sports mogul, Kroenke is also one of the most active and passionate owners despite the fact he’s not as openly vocal as others. As of 2018, Forbes values Kroenke at $8.3 billion.
Here is what you need to know about Kroenke:
1. Kroenke Started Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
Kroenke founded Kroenke Sports Enterprises in 1999, which later became Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. KSE owns multiple Colorado-based sports organizations, two arenas, one stadium, among other properties.
Kroenke’s sports holdings can be found on KSE’s official website here:
Denver-based Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) is one of the world’s leading ownership, entertainment and management groups. As owners and operators of Pepsi Center, the Paramount Theatre, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Mammoth (NLL) and Colorado Rapids (MLS), KSE’s sports and entertainment assets are second to none. Additional properties under KSE’s umbrella include Altitude Sports & Entertainment, a 24-hour regional television network; Altitude Authentics, the company’s official retail provider; and Altitude Tickets, the official ticketing provider for KSE teams and venues.
2. He Purchased Stake in the Los Angeles Rams in 1995
Kroenke’s saga with the Rams is a long, winded one that lasted two decades, primarily for those who live in St. Louis.
In April 1995, NFL owners voted on and passed the transaction, allowing Kroenke to purchase 30% of the Rams from then-owner Georgia Frontiere, and move the team to St. Louis after he failed to bring an expansion team two years prior. The Rams temporarily moved to Busch Stadium, and later the $260-million domed stadium under construction, eventually The Dome at America’s Center, which has gone through several name changes through the years.
Kroenke, over time, eventually had eyes elsewhere – a potential move to Los Angeles. In a 2013 arbitration hearing, a panel of arbitrators determined that the stadium [The Dome at America’s Center] would only be considered among the top 25% of NFL stadiums – part of the team’s original 1995 lease agreement – with proposed renovations and upgrades, at the time. The lease eventually moved to a year-to-year agreement, as Kroenke expressed his interest to keep the Rams in St. Louis.
In February 2015, Inglewood City Council unanimously (5-0) agreed upon building an 80,000-seat stadium, as the Kroenke Group teamed up with Stockbridge Capital Group. Two years later, the Rams headed back to Los Angeles after first applying for relocation in January 2016, along with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
3. His Wife Ann Walton Is a Walmart Heiress
Kroenke met his wife Ann Walton, daughter of Walmart co-founder James “Bud” Walton (along with his brother, Sam), on a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, and were married in 1974. When Bud died in 1995, Ann inherited part of his Walmart stake; as of today, she is worth $6.1 billion, according to Forbes.
In addition to the sports properties Kroenke owns, he also owns roughly 30 million square feet of real estate primarily consisting of shopping plazas near Walmart stores.
Despite her ownership stake in Walmart, she is not an active board member or an executive, and is actually a registered nurse.
4. She Also “Owns” the Denver Nuggets & Colorado Avalanche
In August 2010, Kroenke became majority owner of the St. Louis Rams in a deal worth $750 million; at the time he owned 40% stake in the team as of 1997.
To combat the NFL’s rules against ownership of professional franchises in other leagues:
“Kroenke agreed to turn over operational and financial control of those teams to 30-year-old son, Josh, by the end of the year. He must give up his majority stake in the teams by December 2014.”
In October 2015, the NFL approved of the transfer of Kroenke’s ownership stake in the Nuggets and Avalanche to his wife, Ann (family trust, as Josh was running day-to-day operations with the organizations as of 2013).
5. Kroenke Bought Alishair Usmanov Out of Arsenal in 2018
Kroenke reportedly reached an agreement with Red and White Securities‘ Alisher Usmanov on his buyout and acquisition of the firm’s 30% ownership stake in English Premier League club Arsenal in August 2018. Arsenal’s value grew to £1.8 billion, or $2.3 billion.
Kroenke became majority shareholder of Arsenal in July 2011. Since, Kroenke has held a 67% majority stake of the club. In addition to acquiring Usmanov and the firm’s 30% stake, Kroenke also reportedly plans to buy out the remaining shares from shareholders for a reported £600 million, or about $778 million.
At the London Stock Exchange the day of the purchase, Kroenke made his future intentions with the club known:
“We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 percent ownership of the club. We appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.”
KSE has transformed from a regional brand to an international brand, all thanks to Kroenke.