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Rumor: Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke to create MLS side “LA Gunners”

Feb 6, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

Jeff Fisher AP

With Stan Kroenke’s recent purchase of a choice 60 acre plot of land in downtown Los Angeles, reports from Britain claim the Arsenal chief shareholder is set to create a sister team in Major League Soccer called the LA Gunners.

Straight off these “reports” should be qualified as coming from the notoriously unreliable Metro, via the notoriously unreliable Sun.

The theory is as follows – just before this year’s Super Bowl Kroenke purchased a parking lot sized space located between Hollywood Park and the Los Angeles Forum. Such prime real estate, combined with the fact that the stadium lease for the St. Louis Rams (who Kroenke owns) ends after the 2014 season, had the LA Times making the logical connection that the land could “potentially could be used for an NFL stadium.”  

The foreseeability of Kroenke using the land to establish a new MLS side in LA, as the British tabloids would like us to believe, is considerably low for two main reasons. First, there are already two MLS clubs in the city, making three a crowd. Second, MLS has recently announced the expansion of the league to include New York City Football Club, Orlando City and David Beckham’s Miami club. Adding a fourth expansion side in such close temporal proximity would feel a bit aggressive and even if it gets down, Atlanta is currently the favorite to win that race.

Given these reasons – as well as the lack of quotes from anyone in Kroenke’s camp revealing even a mild interest in setting up a sister side in MLS – it’s highly likely the LA Gunner rumor is mere journalistic creativity of someone at the Sun connecting the dots and someone at the Metro getting on board. Quintessential British footy tabloid stuff.

Yet despite the barriers to entry and the story being pie in the sky, Kroenke setting up a sister club in LA is at least a possibility considering the rise of sister clubs (read: Manchester City’s plan for world domination) in burgeoning soccer markets.

But what about the practical issues at hand?

Chivas USA is the blight of MLS, a disgracefully run organization in dire need of a change of ownership. If Kroenke could work out a deal to purchase the club, this would overcome both the three-teams-in-LA issue and the expansion predicament.

Another option would be for Kroenke to rebrand the Colorado Rapids, his current stake in MLS, into the LA Gunners. Doing so, however, would fail to address the three-teams-in-LA issue all the while pissing off an important base of MLS supporters. A definitively less likely possibility

So for now the LA Gunners story should be taken with a grain of salt. Pure rumor. Speculation. Tea leaves. But discredit the rumor at your own peril because in the current wheeling-and-dealing world of MLS anything is possible.

  1. numbr4stuna - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Wish Kronke would bring an MLS franchise to St. Louis.

    • numbr4stuna - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Kroenke*

    • rphillish - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      We’ll take the Rams back, and you can have the “Gunners”

  2. danielofthedale - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    NO NO NO! MLS has finally got out of the owners with multiple teams phase of their history and there is no need to go back to that. Plus the league can’t let another team come in to be just the minor league team to another team. I know it probably won’t happen but this is something that I hope never does.

  3. larryang - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Eh, Kroenke owns all non-NFL professional sports franchises in Denver area and they’re bundled into a regional sports network. Doubt he relocates the Rapids.

    Moving the Rams? Sure, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  4. wwsiralexd - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I like the sound of the “LA Gunners.”

  5. tr3y11 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I don’t like the idea of MLS clubs being satellites for EPL clubs. MLS clubs need their own identities and get away from being like NYCFC.

  6. vtcrusade - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Ah doesn’t Arsenal already have a sister club over here, the Colorado Rapids

  7. hightopandrocket - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Liberal media is gonna be all over the “gunners” name, pressure them to change the name to Frisbees or Hula-Hoops so not to offend anyone…

  8. player169 - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    I think the 60 acre is a investment to use as a bargaining chip. It would be too expensive to move the Rams to LA. I like the idea of Kroenke building an NFL / Soccer stadium in St. Louis. Might even snag some public funds. I don’t know if MLS would allow the duel role stadium, but it would be sweet and I think STL could fill a 40,000 seat stadium 3/4 full regularly. I’ve been a Rams season ticket holder for 14 years and they never fill the place. 40,000 seats would work…

  9. player169 - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Agree, Kroenke would be the perfect owner to bring a team to St. Louis. He will build a new stadium for the Rams…doubtful in LA (Missouri native – too much $$ to move team). That stadium could be designed for both soccer and NFL….say 40,000 seats / grass…retractable roof. It’s a nice dream. The guy is a shrewd businessman and king of the long play / con.

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