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E. Stanley Kroenke’s journey to bring professional football to Los Angeles culminated on Jan. 12, 2016 when National Football League owners ratified his proposal to return the Rams to Southern California.
“The Rams are returning to their home of Los Angeles with an incredible stadium complex that will exceed all expectations of our fans in the entertainment capital of the world,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2016. “We believe this will be transformational, not just for the Rams, not just for the Los Angeles community, but for the NFL.”
Ten years after NFL owners unanimously approved Kroenke to assume sole ownership of the franchise in 2010, he will celebrate the grand opening of his Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park – a 298-acre development with a 70,240-seat stadium as its crown jewel.
The state-of-the-art stadium will rise from nearly 100 feet below ground on the former site of the Hollywood Park Racetrack and will serve as the home to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers upon opening in 2020. Additionally, the multi-purpose project will act as a West Coast campus for the National Football League, housing NFL Media’s headquarters, with premier hosting capabilities for future Super Bowls, NFL Drafts, and Pro Bowls.
“Stan has the vision, resources, inspiration and creativity to create the right setting for the NFL in Los Angeles,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones. “I have great admiration for his talent and skills, and I have great confidence in his leadership ability in guiding our league back into this very important community. He sees the big picture, knows how to do things on the big stage, and he knows how to do what’s best for the long term future. Stan Kroenke is a valuable asset to the National Football League.”
Equipped with decades of real estate development experience, a passion for sports and a one-of-a-kind vision, Kroenke orchestrated the Rams’ return home by privately financing the construction of a world-class stadium befitting the culture and style of Los Angeles.
“Stan Kroenke solved the riddle that perplexed the NFL for over 20 years,” said Los Angeles Times Columnist Sam Farmer. “He had the drive and resources to make the commitment and did what no one else could do."
The Rams’ arrival was named 2016’s top sports moment at the 12th Annual L.A. Sports Awards.
DELIVERING A GLOBAL DESTINATION
In a marriage of sports, retail, commercial and residential development, Kroenke is constructing a 3.1 million-square-foot stadium expandable up to 100,000 seats that will anchor an urban village, complete with a 6,000-seat performance venue, 300 boutique hotel rooms, 2,500 modern residences, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail, office, conference and meeting space. More than 20 acres of public parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths will divide the district into thirds, offering residents and visitors a regional gathering place in the center of the Los Angeles basin.
“What Mr. Kroenke has set in motion with this project is unbelievable and we can’t wait to play our home games at the new stadium,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. “He is committed to building a sustainable, winning team and we’re excited to continue that journey into our future home in Inglewood.”
In addition to hosting NFL games, the new stadium and district at Hollywood Park will transform the area into a year-round sports and entertainment destination that will deliver an unparalleled experience for residents and visitors. Since returning to Southern California, the stadium has been awarded the Super Bowl LVI in 2022 and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics. In addition, the College Football Playoff National Championship will be played for the first time in the Los Angeles region in 2023 with the L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District serving as the host venue.
“Los Angeles is a world-class city with a great record as sensational hosts to college football championships, Olympics, Super Bowls and other top events,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “Of course, the new stadium will be spectacular.”
The NFL also is developing a 235,000-square-foot space at Hollywood Park to serve as its West Coast Headquarters that will house operations for NFL Media, which includes NFL Network, NFL RedZone, the NFL app, NFL.com, NFL Fantasy and the NFL’s social media lab, plus staff across a variety of departments including marketing, club business development, and media sales. In addition to office and studio space situated next to LA Stadium, the facility will feature NFL Media’s first outdoor studio which will be able to host audiences and includes an outdoor field for filming purposes as well as public use. The new NFL Media campus is expected to open prior to the 2021 season.
“As home to the Rams and Chargers, and now NFL Media, the LA Stadium and Entertainment District will be an attraction for NFL fans year-round,” said Commissioner Goodell. “Thanks to Stan’s vision, we know Hollywood Park will be the place to be – not just for football, but for entertainment and events, for living and for working. We are excited for NFL Media to join this transformative project.”
The NFL’s largest stadium was designed to reflect the climate, characteristics and culture of Southern California, and to capitalize on the site’s near-perfect weather, a transparent roof canopy covering 19 acres was developed. Under the lightweight roof made of ETFE, all sides of the building will remain open, allowing for a natural integration between the indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Kroenke and project developers officially broke ground on the L.A Stadium & Entertainment District on Nov. 17, 2016. Since the groundbreaking, significant construction milestones have been celebrated, namely the Stadium Topping Out in June 2018, a tradition on construction sites that commemorates the final steel beam going into the structure, and the completion of the iconic canopy roof outer shell in the spring of 2019.
ENRICHING THE COMMUNITY
Within months of relocating to Southern California, Kroenke’s Rams instituted their first local community improvement project in partnership with the Inglewood Unified School District as a continuation of the team’s commitment to service.
“The (community improvement) project, being completed through a grant from the Rams, is a visible manifestation of Stan Kroenke, the NFL and the Rams organization to the school children of Inglewood,” said Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. “The Rams have shouted, ‘Inglewood kids count,’ and I salute them for their investment in the learning environment for our children.”
Under Kroenke’s leadership, philanthropic activities remain essential to the mission of the L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District. Project developers are committed to positively impacting the Greater Los Angeles Region and the City of Inglewood through world-class entertainment, outreach activities, the creation of new jobs, and local revenues.
“In shifting the center of gravity of West Coast sports to Inglewood, Kroenke has elevated the profile of the community and seeded the area with opportunity for years to come,” added Farmer. “A project of this magnitude changes the landscape both literally and economically.”
The stadium project is expected to generate hundreds of millions in new annual economic activity across the region. There are up to 3,000 construction workers on-site daily, with Inglewood residents given priority placement, and more than 10 million worker hours have been completed to-date since construction began. Once completed and fully operating, the stadium and retail components are expected to generate thousands of additional jobs with long-term regional benefits.
“This project is currently utilizing the first-ever local hire strategy of mandating contractors performing ‘hunt trades’ – carpenters, laborers, iron workers, cement/brick masons, etc. – to interview designated local union members and individuals eligible for sponsorship into those trades,” said South Bay Workforce Investment Board’s Michael Ector who manages the Inglewood One Stop Construction and Utilities Pathways Program (CUPP). “It has been received well by the subcontractors, and we will continue these efforts throughout the project.”
In partnership with the City of Inglewood, Kroenke committed to a 100 percent union job site with priority given to residents of Inglewood and designated local zip codes. In order to further create job opportunities for members of the local community, a 15 percent Inglewood resident apprenticeship goal has been established to help workers develop professional and trade skills. As of June 2019, over 80 Minority and Disadvantaged Businesses had received more than $555 million in construction contracts and local area residents have received more than $58 million in wages.
“We have a dedicated team who is focused on outreach and connecting minority and disadvantaged businesses to opportunities for the construction of the stadium,” said Michelle Ballard, vice president of community engagement, Turner AECOM-Hunt Joint Venture – the contractor in charge of building the stadium. “It’s all about increasing economic development for the Inglewood community and the Southern California region.”
As a whole, the City of Inglewood’s general fund is expected to receive tens of millions in annual revenue from the L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District. According to initial estimates, the city is projected to receive $13 million in sales tax revenue during construction from equipment and materials purchased alone. Inglewood will also benefit through other avenues such as ticket taxes, sales tax from retail operations, property taxes and a hotel occupancy tax. These funds will help balance the city’s budget, improve and expand city services and infrastructure, enhance public safety and maintain open green space. Revenues from Kroenke’s entertainment district will also fund new after school sports programs among other after-school activities for Inglewood’s youth.
AN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS LEADER
Regarded as one of the world’s leading sports proprietors, Kroenke’s teams have won titles in the NFL, NHL, MLS, and the National Lacrosse League. Kroenke’s sports holdings include serving as the majority shareholder of London’s Arsenal FC (Barclays English Premiere League), which won its 13th FA Cup in 2017. From 2000-2014, Kroenke owned the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, which are now a part of a family trust. Kroenke’s Denver-based company, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), owns the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. Kroenke also owns Altitude Sports & Entertainment, which produces Rams preseason games.
“It is evident that Stan knows how to achieve success in the sports world,” Rams General Manager Les Snead said. “His teams have won championships in five different sports and he has experience in building a contender. The success we have experienced through the NFL Draft and free agency, would not have been possible without Stan’s support and his willingness to take risks to build this team.”
On Jan. 12, 2017, Kroenke hired Sean McVay – the youngest head coach in modern NFL history – to lead the Rams. McVay’s record through the first 32 regular season games of his coaching tenure is one of the best starts of all coaches hired since 2000. McVay won 24-of-32 games during his first two regular seasons as a head coach and leads all active NFL coaches with a .750 win percentage.
Since onboarding McVay, the Rams won back-t0-back division titles and turned in one of the best seasons in franchise history in 2018. That year, Los Angeles finished with a 13-3 record – tied for second-best in team history – won two playoff games and added a conference championship to its collection of accolades.
According to The New York Times, 1997 was the first season to allow NFL owners to own cross-sport franchises. Among current NFL ownership, only two have had three teams win a playoff game/series in the same year in North America. Kroenke was the latest to accomplish the feat as the Avalanche and Nuggets also made remarkable playoff runs last season (2018-19). Both the Avalanche and Nuggets secured first-round playoff wins, and Los Angeles advanced to the club’s fourth Super Bowl (2018-19 season). The late Paul Allen’s Seattle Seahawks (NFL), Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) previously did so in 2014.
Kroenke currently serves on the NFL’s Broadcast Committee. He has worked on multiple league committees, including the NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee. Kroenke also worked alongside his fellow owners to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association in 2011.
E. Stanley Kroenke, named after baseball legends Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial, was born in Cole Camp, Mo., and grew up in Mora, Mo. Kroenke and his wife, Ann, have a daughter, Whitney, and a son, Josh, Vice Chairman of KSE and KSE UK. In 2017, Kroenke and Josh became owners of the Los Angeles Gladiators, an eSports franchise of the Overwatch League.
Kroenke holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri and he is a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame (2009 Enshrinement Class).