Last week at the Variety-Sports Illustrated Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles, a panel of Rams Owner Stan Kroenke, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff and Head Coach Jeff Fisher took on a couple of questions largely revolving around relocating to the LA market this offseason.
For the most part, the remarks were relatively expected fodder from praising fans in the LA area to Fisher lauding his players’ readiness.
The more consequential takeaways revolve around Kroenke’s comments, as his media availability has been overwhelmingly thin since taking over as the owner of the franchise in 2010.
His comments reinforce the reality that his primary concern isn’t the quality of the product on the field but exporting that product worldwide:
Kroenke: My favorite course in grad school was international business. The problem was when I went to grad school there was only one course. And so, I always loved it. And so, this is an opportunity for me to get a little bit involved more internationally. We have some of our other businesses that are a little bit, but this is, the scale of this, Arsenal two years ago was the most popular, we call it football team in Europe, soccer team in China. We’ve been in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, all touring and playing the last few years. So that’s sort of that side. The television revenue growth in that particular sector for English Premier League’s the fastest growing area we have.
Panel Moderator and executive editor and senior writer at Sports Illustrated, Jon Wertheim: Let’s keep going with that. I mean, does this model, could we replicate this with the Rams in Asia?
Kroenke: Well, I mean, I think you know, Los Angeles is so important for the NFL, because it’s sort of, you can, some people call it the gateway to South America. Some people certainly call it the gateway to Asia. But it’s extremely important if growth is going to occur like most people see it occurring in the coming years. Yeah, I think LA is extremely important that way.
Demoff had some comments on the business model he’s overseeing as a content production company (hey, I know what that’s like!):
I think you become sports and entertainment, you become one and the same. In this world now that we have content in any form is essentially, whether it’s sports, movie, a digital short, social media — content all blends together. And I look at our franchise now as a content production company. We do 16 Sundays a year. We do the draft. We do the offseason. We do training camp. We produce a lot of content, and I think our games are just an extension of that. They’re the most visible portion of our content, but I think it’s starting to seamlessly blend together.
Not surprisingly, Demoff failed to include any potential postseason games as part of that content.
Kroenke also had an interesting quote in that Variety piece on the actual output of his teams in terms of the win column:
We’ve been doing this real estate thing for a long time. I’ve always loved sports and you have to make it make sense financially. But you learn over the years that it’s no fun if you don’t win.
In the six season the Rams have played since Kroenke took over as owner, they have yet to post a single winning season with a 36-59-1 record.