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Great Super Bowl, Everyone: Now Let's Abandon St. Louis

Stocks in this article: CBS WMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Stan Kroenke sure knows how to ruin a Super Bowl party.

Just as the National Football League and its fans were heading into Super Bowl weekend and the last inane predictions were being made about the Denver Broncos' record-setting offense, the Seattle Seahawks' lack of Super Bowl experience and New Jersey Transit's ability to handle a mass-transportation Super Bowl, some strange rumblings were coming out of St. Louis and Los Angeles. As reported by no less than NFL.com, Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres in Inglewood, Calif., between the refurbished Forum and the soon-to-be-demolished Hollywood Park racetrack.

With his league's biggest night coming up, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tried to assure fans that, no, this didn't mean the Rams were going to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles for the first time since the Rams and Raiders left in 1994.

"Stan is a very large developer, on a global basis," Goodell said. "He has land throughout the country and throughout the world. He has kept us informed of it. We're aware of it. There are no plans, to my knowledge, of a stadium development. Anything that would require a stadium development would require multiple votes of the membership."

Rams fans and the city of St. Louis know better. Despite the fact the Rams haven't made the playoffs since 2004 and haven't won more games than they've lost since 2003, Kroenke and the rest of the Rams ownership is looking for $700 million in upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome -- including a roof with a sliding panel, a glass front, luxury boxes, party platforms, new scoreboards, improved concessions and extra offices. Ownership wants the city to make good on its lease's promise to improve the dome into a "first-tier" stadium by 2015, but St. Louis likely didn't foresee the $1 billion-plus stadiums in Dallas, New Jersey and Silicon Valley.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission balked at the Rams' proposal, saying they and the city "simply don't have the money" to make it happen. The subtext of that admission is that they know full well who has the money to fund such a thing.

Stan Kroenke's net worth was listed at $4 billion by Forbes last year. That's not counting the $6 billion stake in Wal-Mart (WMT) owned by Kroenke and his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke. He took a 40% stake in the Rams when they moved from L.A. in 1995 and bought the rest of the team in 2010 after majority owner Georgia Frontiere died. He also owns both the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association and Colorado Avalance of the National Hockey League, but had to give control of both franchises to his son Josh to get the NFL's approval to take over the Rams. His majority stake in both of those teams goes away at the end of the 2014.

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