Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke named sixth most-powerful person in sports

Stan Kroenke

Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke may rub many Arsenal supporters the wrong way due to his alleged penny-pinching and thrifty ways, but he must be doing something right. The 65-year-old was just recently named as the sixth most powerful person in the world of sports by the renowned Sports Illustrated magazine. The publication just released its list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Sports and there was Kroenke sitting at number six.

Kroenke owns several professional sports franchises in various leagues in North America and the UK. The real-estate baron owns the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL) as well as the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer (MLS). He’s basically got all of the major North American sports leagues covered, and of course is the top shareholder of Arsenal.

The magazine states that Kroenke has his hand in more sports franchises than anybody else in the world and has approximately U.S. $4 billion wrapped up in them, which translates into about 2.6 billion pounds. That’s just over half of his estimated worth since Kroenke also made the Forbes’ list of world billionaires this year as he’s pegged at having about $5 billion. This placed him number 248 on the list.

But while many Arsenal supporters question why Kroenke doesn’t spend money on buying new players, he’s certainly not shy about dishing money out for other ventures and investments. He recently bid $227 million for an American television channel called the Outdoor Channel and earlier this year shelled out $32 million for a couple of shopping centers in Colorado. At the end of last year he spent $133 million on a ranch in Montana.

But Kroenke is apparently slipping according to Sports Illustrated since they named him the most powerful man in sports last year, meaning he’s dropped five places since then. He’s been replaced at the top of the list by Roger Goodell, who is the commissioner of the NFL. The only other people ahead of him are David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, AEG owner Philip Anschutz, ESPN president John Skipper, and Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

However, Kroenke is listed as being more powerful than people such as International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge,  FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, The English Premier League’s Richard Scudamore, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the Glazer Family who own Man United, and UFC head honcho Dana White. Of course, Kroenke’s name has been in the news more than usual recently due to rumours of a takeover bid at Arsenal.

Recent reports have stated that a consortium from the Middle East is willing to offer 1.5 billion pounds for the club, but Kroenke, who owns two-thirds of it and Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal’s second biggest shareholder at about 30 per cent, aren’t interested in selling. This means Kroenke is willing to turn down an offer of 20,000 pounds per share. Some fans wish he would take the money and run while others are glad that he’s committed to the cause. Of course, he could always change his mind.

The money is supposedly going to be coming from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and would almost double the 800 million pounds that was paid for Manchester United by the Glazers. The buyers would own 100 per cent of the club and all debts would be wiped out. Other promises made included reducing ticket prices at the Emirates as well as spending more money on new players. Transfers and wages would still have to fall under the financial fair play rules though.

For some reason Kroenke has taken a lot of blame for Arsenal’s recent lack of success, which dates back to 2005. He doesn’t interfere with the running of the club, so it’s a little difficult to understand why he’s named as the fall guy by so many supporters. However, other fans point to manager Arsene Wenger as being the main culprit in the team’s silverware drought. But Kroenke is a proven businessman and he realizes that the club has to be successful to draw the fans and to make money. If the Gunners fail to make the Champions League next season, it’s going to put a dent in his wallet. If that happens, expect some major changes at the club during the offseason.

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