Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has set a worrying precedent after seemingly attempting to force $575 million from the city of St. Louis with a threat to relocate their NFL team.
A report from Deadspin suggests that Kroenke is trying to scare St. Louis after purchasing a sizeable chunk of land in Los Angeles, a city without a NFL franchise and area suitable for an American football stadium.
This has occurred at the same time as Kroenke refusing to speak with city officials and work to negotiate a new stadium financing deal that would keep the Rams in their current locale.
It may seem an unlikely ploy with the Rams 20 years into a 30 year leader but Kroenke is able to make it an annual lease if he is unable to negotiate terms with the city of St. Louis to help with “stadium improvements.”
All this together signals to Kroenke using the threat of relocation and favourable stadium lease clauses to essentially force the city to pay him $575m of public money for these as yet undefined “stadium improvements”.
Whilst it seems underhand, Arsenal fans will probably not be that surprised given Kroenke took £3m from the club earlier this season in payment for “strategic and advisory services”, according to the Guardian.
But, as if by magic, this completely coincided with a 3% rise in season ticket prices that raised exactly the same amount of money.
Possibly a worrying precedent when looking to his future with Arsenal.
Of course, there is no danger that Arsenal will be relocated elsewhere – their position as the largest central London club already puts them in good stead – but Gunners fans will be understandably wary of Kroenke’s ruthlessness.