Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has long been one of the United States most polarizing media figures. He may soon become one of the National Football Leagues most controversial owners. On Tuesday, Limbaugh announced that he is teaming up with David Checketts to make a bid to purchase the struggling NFL team. The Rams are a pitiful 5-31 since 2007 and are currently mired in a league high 14 game losing streak.
Limbaugh issued a statement that was short on details due to various confidentiality agreements, but made clear his intention to purchase the football team:
“Dave Checketts and I have made a bid to buy the Rams and we are continuing the process.”
The statement didnt place a value on the Limbaugh/Checketts bid, nor did it specify any other individuals whod be involved in the bid. He did specify that he and Checketts would be responsible for the operation of the team. Forbes Magazine has estimated the value of the franchise at just over $900 million. That was several years ago, however, and the current value of the franchise may be in the $750 to $800 million range.
The team is currently owned by the estate of Georgia Frontiere, specifically her children Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez who inherited 60% of the team upon her death in 2008. The remaining 40% is owned by Stan Kroenke.
A statement issued by the Frontiere estate to coincide was the Limbaugh statement revealed very little additional information:
“Our strategic review of our ownership of the Rams continues. We will make an announcement upon the completion of the process.”
The other parties to the negotiations–Checketts and the National Football League–both declined comment.
Limbaugh is a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri and an avid sports fan. He once worked in a sales capacity for the Kansas City Royals baseball team, and had a short stint as a studio analyst on Monday Night Football. Last year he signed a $400 million contract extension with the Clear Channel radio network.
Despite Limbaugh and Checketts ties to the area, the rumor of the sale has raised concern in St. Louis. The city has already lost one NFL team, when the Cardinals moved to Tempe, Arizona in 1987. The NFL passed over St. Louis for an expansion franchise in 1993, awarding it instead to Jacksonville, Florida. In 1995, Frontiere”a St. Louis native”was persuaded to move the team back to her hometown. There is a clause in the Rams lease that would allow the team to relocate without penalty as soon as 2014 if their current home at the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be one of the top 25% of NFL stadiums. Its already one of the oldest facilities in the league, and there are no current plans to replace or renovate the structure.
Ross Everett is a widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on baseball betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.