Colorado pro sports: keeping it a family affair |

Colorado pro sports: keeping it a family affair

Sports Geek
Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Jeff Sauer

These are not your father’s Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche anymore.

Unless you’re Josh Kroenke.

And soon, both teams will be his, in theory, depending on the course of action chosen by his father, Stan Kroenke, over the next few years.

Here’s a little back story: When Stan bought 40 percent of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams back in 2010, he became prohibited, by NFL rules, from owning a majority stake in any pro sports franchise outside of St. Louis.

Since the elder Kroenke already owned the Nuggets and Avalanche when he bought the Rams, along with the fact that he commands a ton of respect in the sporting world, the NFL turned the other cheek somewhat and agreed to his stake with the Rams, with one stipulation: He would have to divest himself from majority ownership of the Colorado teams by 2014, thus, paving the way for Josh, at the ripe young age of 30, to be appointed as the majority owner of the Avs and Nuggets.

By all accounts, the son of a buck (Stan ranks 107th on the Forbes wealthiest list) seems to be up to the task regarding his heir apparent status. He currently serves as the Nuggets president and the governor of the Avalanche, and although the Kroenkes know their basketball quite well, Josh is smart enough to make sure Pierre Lacroix continues to make the hockey decisions for Kroenke Sports Enterprises.

In the grand scheme of things, I certainly don’t have any qualms about the quality of ownership with any of our home-state teams. In fact, I think we’ve been extremely fortunate in recent times.

Looking at the Daniel Snyders (Redskins) and Peter Angeloses (Orioles) of the world makes us realize how lucky we are to have the Kroenkes, the Monfort brothers and Pat Bowlen.

Bowlen has been the epitome of class and success as an owner for 28 years, but who will take the reins to his Broncos when he steps away, which may not be far off?

Will his children step in and possibly include Colorado’s native son John Elway in their ownership group, prompting another “This one’s for John” statement from Bowlen?

The Rockies’ Monfort brothers have proved a lot of their detractors wrong by believing in their farm system, and by sticking with GM Dan O’Dowd through the tough times.

If you’re looking for a serious black eye in baseball ownership, look directly within the Rockies’ division at the state of Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Luckily for their fans, the Disney family may get back into the sporting business and buy them.

So, what does the future hold for the Rockies? Will the Monfort children assume ownership of the team when the timing is right?

I like the philosophy of keeping ownership in the family, as opposed to selling out to some crazy billionaire nut job capable of destroying one of our teams.

And while we’re on the subject – we are currently witnessing a prime example of heirs succeeding, as the New York Giants gear up for yet another Super Bowl.

Co- owners John Mara and Steve Tisch had some big shoes to fill when their fathers, Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch, both passed away in 2005, leaving them ownership of the Giants.

They’ve run the organization in a manner that would have made their fathers proud, beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII back in 2008, with a chance to repeat the same feat in 12 days.

Our local teams appear to be in good hands, but as the saying goes: Things change, and then they change again.

Here’s hoping that ownership finds a way to stay within the family for every one of our Colorado teams.

Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at

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