On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke made it to the second round of bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Major League Baseball's first West Coast team is up for sale following the messy divorce of owner Frank McCourt. Kroenke's interest in the team has fueled speculation about his plans to move the Rams back to Southern California. However, his odds for buying the Dodgers may be about the same as the odds of the Rams winning the Super Bowl next year.
Unlike the other eight bidders trying to woo Frank McCourt, Kroenke's efforts are complicated by the fact that he also owns an NFL team. We've covered why that might be a problem from the NFL side of things, as well as a potential solution to that problem. It also might be a problem from the MLB side of things, as noted by Maury Brown at Baseball Prospectus.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer tried to buy the Dodgers in 2004, when Fox put the team on the market. Both MLB and the NFL shot that down. MLB was ultimately uncomfortable with Glazer's son running the Dodgers, something that ran counter to their preference for a controlling interest to be in the home market and the baseball operations side of things.
The NFL said no to Glazer taking a loan out against the Buccaneers.
If MLB really does prefer local ownership, they have a a number of bidders to choose from. Reports that LA's richest man, Patrick Soon-Shiong, could get into the mix as part of an ownership group adds another layer to the sale.
Brown thinks that Kroenke buying the Dodgers is ultimately unlikely based on precedent and the complications around Kroenke's effort. A side story to watch here is what happens with McCourt's land around the stadium, land that could be turned into a multi-purpose venue, capable of supporting two professional sports teams.
Kroenke's bid now has to go through an intensive vetting process by Major League Baseball. Any reservations Bud Selig's office has about the issues surrounding Kroenke's attempts to purchase the Dodgers could eliminate him from the race, especially if the goal is to have the ownership transfer completed by the end of April.
Whether Kroenke gets a legitimate shot at buying the Dodgers or not, going through the process certainly strengthens his position at the bargaining table as he looks to get a favorable stadium deal in Missouri.