The Los Angeles Rams won the 2022 Super Bowl on home turf: the over $5 billion SoFi Stadium. Reportedly the most expensive sports arena globally, the SoFi Stadium contains some extraordinary features. For instance, 75% of it lies underground: its proximity to the LA International Airport prompted developers to go down rather than up.
The pitch lies 100 feet below ground level, two times deeper than any other NFL venue. SoFi stadiums superlatives are too many to mention; it’s truly a sight to behold and a worthy site for the Rams’ hard-fought victory.
Secretive billionaire Stan Kroenke owns the SoFi stadium.
Stan Kroenke owns the SoFi stadium via Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a holding company created in 1999 to be the parent company of his sports holdings. Kroenke praised the Rams and the team’s fans for delivering NFL glory.
“So happy for them,” Kroenke said. “They’re unbelievable and this just hung in there. It was a tough game and I’m just so proud of them executing like they did. Thanks to the great fans of Los Angeles, your first Super Bowl trophy in Rams house.”
Kroenke then aimed a sly dig at critics of the stadium. “As far as building this stadium goes, I think it turned out alright,” Stan said.
Stan is the man responsible for bringing football back to Los Angeles. For a long time, America’s second-most populous city lacked football, and the local government seemed disinterested in investing in bringing football back.
Private entities also shied away from investing: statistics showed that most people preferred to watch football from home rather than in stadiums. Stan, however, saw potential in LA and funded construction.
Unexpected costs drove the cost from around $1.86 billion to over $5 billion, but Stan didn’t cut corners or try to downgrade the project. Stan told The Los Angeles Times that his input in the project demonstrated that he plans to stay long term:
“The problem was … those cost estimates by two independent people who worked with our architects on the costing were way off. They were just way off. So it takes a lot more investment, so that’s more risk. But we’re long term. … We don’t get involved in things unless we think we’re going to be there for a long time.”
Stan is not a popular figure in the NFL or Europe
Stan Kroenke forked out the cash to bring the NFL to LA, but he isn’t a popular figure in the league. Some LA fans might approve of him, but the secretive billionaire doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the rest of the NFL.
Kroenke angered fans in St. Louis, the former home of the Rams, by moving their beloved team to Los Angeles. The board agreed to move the team only after Stan pledged to indemnify interested parties from potential costs.
Rams fans in St. Louis objected, but the board approved. Various entities sued the NFL and the 32 teams claiming that the league violated its rules during the Rams’ relocation. Stan, who had agreed to pay incidental costs, declared that he held a different view of the arrangement, displeasing fellow NFL owners.
Most NFL owners saw Stan’s statement as an attempt to dump costs on his colleagues. Months later, Stan sent a letter to the NFL owners announcing his intention to settle part of the bill, leaving the other owners with liability.
The parties eventually settled, but it left many owners angry at Stan for his handling of the case. “It is the most contentious dispute in more than a decade,” an insider told The Wall Street Journal.
Kroenke’s decisions as the majority owner of Arsenal make him unpopular in the UK. His failure to make the right policy decisions or bring in star players vexes fans, who have called for his resignation from the club.
In 2021, Stan lost favor with other Premier League Club owners when he agreed to a proposal to create a Super League consisting of the most successful teams in Europe. The teams would leave the Champions League to play in a league similar to the NFL.
Widespread outcry from fans forced the project’s abandonment and prompted owners to apologize. Stan released a statement saying:
“It was never our intention to cause such distress. However, when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we didn’t want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.”
Stan rejected an offer from Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, to purchase the club.