5 Surprises About L.A. Rams Owner Stan Kroenke
Star-studded dinners, a producer daughter and a Malibu estate give Rams owner Stan Kroenke instant Hollywood cred.
With the Rams' return to L.A., Team Owner Stan Kroenke received a warm industry welcome: Among the celebrations was an April dinner hosted by CAA agent Michael Kives, with Ron Meyer, Katy Perry, Jerry Bruckheimer, Elon Musk, Kate Hudson, Scooter Braun and Steve Wynn in attendance. But the low-profile Kroenke (whose media reticence has earned him the nickname "Silent Stan") was no stranger to Hollywood: Daughter Whitney Kroenke Burditt is a film producer (The Power of Few) and philanthropist who lives on the Bird Streets above the Sunset Strip. And Kroenke himself is a longtime Malibu homeowner, having paid $9 million in 1998 for the estate of Princess Diana's lover Dodi Fayed.
Kroenke was born for sports moguldom: His father, who owned a lumberyard in the rural Missouri town of Mora and was a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan, named him Enos Stanley Kroenke — Enos for Enos Slaughter, hero of the team's 1946 World Series victory, and Stanley for its greatest player, Stan Musial. Now the 69-year-old is one of the most powerful owners in sports. In addition to the Rams, he owns London's storied Arsenal soccer club, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and, through his Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.
Already a successful real estate developer when he met Ann Walton (daughter of Walmart co-founder Bud) while skiing in Vail, Kroenke expanded his business into shopping centers, many anchored by Walmarts. He also diversified into ranching (with about 1.38 million acres, he's one of the five largest private landowners in the U.S.) and media (Denver-area Altitude regional sports network and outdoor-sports-oriented KSE Media). Forbes estimates his personal wealth at $8 billion (which doesn't include his wife's $5 billion). Along the way, he has ruffled some feathers: He left an angry St. Louis with $36 million remaining on a loan the city took out in 1995 to fund the Rams' stadium there, and Arsenal fans are in revolt over paying some of the highest ticket prices in the Premier League. And after buying the 535,000-acre Waggoner Ranch in Texas in February, he caused a ruckus by moving to evict dozens of families from one corner of the property, some of whom have lived there for more than 50 years.
Fayed, who in June 1997 bought the Malibu estate now owned by Kroenke, reportedly was going to ask Diana to live there with him before both were killed two months later in a car crash.
This story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.