On a recent list of the most hated owners in Professional Sports, the late Georgia Frontiere was named the 7th most despised owner. Does she deserve it? Sure, she inherited a mjority of the Los Angeles Rams after her husband Carroll Rosenblum drowned mysteriously in 1979. And yes, she consummated and directed the team’s moves, first to Anaheim in 1980, then to her birthplace in St. Louis in 1995. But does she deserve the label as one of the most hated owners in sports? Let’s look at some of the details behind the moniker given to her.
The 1980 move from Los Angeles to Anaheim was actually brokered by her late husband, the aforementioned Rosenblum, who was lured by an attractive compensation package and a newer stadium in Anaheim. After Rosenbloom died, Frontiere merely closed the deal. Interestingly enough, Rosenblum traded his franchise in Baltimore to acquire the Los Angeles Rams franchise. With wheeling and dealing in his blood, it’s clear that this move was Rosenbloom’s brainchild and not an idea planted in his head by Frontiere.
The 1995 move was brought about, not by Frontiere’s personal considerations and her yearning to move elsewhere, but by economic considerations. Not dissimilar to the reasons brought about by the NFL’s current Lockout. Attendance in Anaheim had declined over 25% from its height in the early 1980’s. And because the team could not sell out its home games, the games were ultimately blacked out in the area. A generation of fans really didn’t have an opportunity to root for the team. Unfortunately, the Raiders at the same time became the popular team in the area with kids and adults alike. Couple this growing lack of interest with St. Louis’ profit guarantees from season ticket sales and a favorable lease and it made a lot of sense to make the move. If Hartford put together the same deal for Frontiere that it did for Robert Kraft, we might be looking at the NFL’s version of the Hartford Whalers.
Granted, Frontiere grew up in St. Louis. However, she was a low level entertainer who constantly traveled with her Mother to perform shows. All accounts suggest that St. Louis is where she slept and not where she lived. On top of that, Frontiere moved to California shortly after high school to try to make it as an entertainer. And upon her move to Los Angeles after Rosenbloom acquired the franchise, she became a leading socialite in Hollywood, contstantly entertaining friends and acquaintenances at her home and at Home Games. There was really no reason for her to move from a personal perspective. My feeling is that if the crowds came out, and she got the stadium she wanted built in Los Angeles, the Rams would have stayed in the area.
Frontiere, joins the list of owners who moved their teams because they wanted to make more money (or stop losing money). It’s just business. She has nothing on Marge Schott and Clay Bennett, in my opinion.