Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke: It's no fun if you don't win
Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke has said that sport "is no fun if you don't win," and hopes his NFL franchise can replicate the Gunners' popularity in Asia after moving to Los Angeles.
American entrepreneur Kroenke, who owns 67 percent of Arsenal, has drawn criticism from some Gunners supporters for the club's lack of success on the pitch since taking his majority share five years ago.
But when discussing the Los Angeles Rams' move to California from St. Louis, he made it clear that he wants to see his teams succeed both financially and on the field.
"I've always loved sports and you have to make it make sense financially. But you learn over the years that it's no fun if you don't win," Kroenke said at the Sports and Entertainment Summit organised by Variety and Sports Illustrated.
Kroenke Sports Enterprises also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets -- who have never won a championship -- and NHL's Colorado Avalanche, which last won the Stanley Cup in 2001.
Kroenke bought his first stake in Arsenal in 2007, with the club having won just two FA Cups in the nine years since. But he remains a firm supporter of manager Arsene Wenger, whose Gunners will travel to California this preseason for two games.
Kroenke's Rams will also go to London for a regular-season NFL game this year, and he said the increased global appeal of sports team is a key to their financial success.
"When you look at where we are focused as a league, Rams are playing the Giants in London this season, Arsenal is playing over here and the NBA is playing games in London," Kroenke said. "The upshot is that sports is so global, and within the last few years, and that's where I think people are focusing for growth."
Arsenal have spent several recent preseasons touring Asian countries, which Kroenke said has helped raise the profile of both the team and the Premier League.
"Arsenal, two years ago, was the most popular -- we call it football team in Europe -- soccer team in China," he added. "We've been in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, all touring and playing the last few years.
"The television revenue in that particular sector for the English Premier League is the fastest growing area we have."
And he hopes the NFL will see a similar result from having a team based in Los Angeles, which has been without a franchise since 1995.
"I think Los Angeles is so important for the NFL. Some people call it the gateway to South America, some people certainly call it the gateway to Asia," Kroenke said. "But it's extremely important if growth is going to occur like most people see it occurring in the coming years."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.