Enos Stanley Kroenke owns six major-league sports franchises — the Nuggets, the Avalanche, the Rapids, the Mammoth, Arsenal FC and the Rams —– and four sports facilities — Ball Arena in downtown Denver, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and Emirates Stadium in Holloway, England. He owns Altitude Sports & Entertainment regional sports network, the Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Network and the World Fishing Network.
Forbes Magazine named Kroenke and his wife, Anne Walton Kroenke, a Walmart heir, among the wealthiest Americans, with a combined net worth estimated at $19.7 billion.
Brian L. Roberts is long-time chairman and chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Comcast after succeeding his father. Comcast owns a myriad of entertainment companies, including the NBC network, Sky Sports, Universal movie studio and theme parks, Xfinity and several regional sports networks. Comcast’s 2020 revenues were $103.6 billion. Roberts’ 2020 salary was $28.6 million, and his net worth is $1.9 billion.
Kyle Alan John Mullica grew up in Thornton as the son of a single mother who worked at two jobs, and they lived in a car when he was a youngster. He received a prestigious Daniels School of Business scholarship at the University of Denver.
The late Bill Daniels was the “father Of cable television’’ and Colorado’s most enthusiastic financial backer of sports teams and events, a bank for kids, local charities and the DU business program founded in his name. Daniels was Mullica’s inspiration.
Mullica graduated with a degree in real estate, but decided he’d rather concentrate on assistance to the homeless, helpless and hospitalized. He returned to school and earned a nursing degree. Kyle married his elementary school sweetheart, and they have three children.
Mullica became a City Council member in his home town, then won a landslide election to the statehouse in 2018 representing district 34th (Adams County).
Like his mom, Kyle also has a second job. He is an emergency room registered nurse at Denver’s Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and has treated hundreds of COVID patients.
Unlike Kroenke and Roberts, Mullica is not a billionaire. He’s more of a thousandaire.
The critical frontline worker is trying to bring together those two rich and infamous knuckleheads.
Like millions of other sports fans in Colorado, Kyle wants Altitude and Comcast to settle their interminable, despicable dispute.
Mullica seems to be a peace-treaty leader, and he is warning of a stronger tactic — a state law.
“I’ve reached out to both sides and will continue to do what I can to end this (impasse),’’ Kyle told me. “Even though these are two private companies, we feel they are violating the rights of the fans, and we must take action in the legislature. The attorneys and I will be writing a bill to present at the beginning of the next session. This is not a partisan issue. I’m open to ideas.’’
Roberts and Kroenke are trying to prove which man has the biggest stick. They won’t even negotiate or resolve their court case.
Kroenke obviously doesn’t care that sports franchises are a public trust. He is reviled in St. Louis and London. Roberts doesn’t give a whit about Colorado teams and their supporters.
For the third consecutive season, a majority of followers of Denver’s two best professional teams will not get to see a majority of Avalanche and Nuggets games on the most prominent cable TV provider.
The Colorado House and Senate can’t even consider action until reconvening in January. The Avalanche opens its NHL schedule Oct. 13, and the Nuggets start the regular season Oct. 20. And the district judge who is conducting the Altitude lawsuit against Comcast and doesn’t believe an urgency exists, won’t hold a pre-trial hearing until next April.
The Nuggets will appear on nationally televised games 14 times, and the Avalanche 13.
Supporters of the teams can subscribe to DirecTV or AT&T streaming services, or continue to rely on illegal streaming outfits, but those numbers will pale in comparison to Comcast customers. The two former partners and current bitter adversaries couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract in August 2019, and no advancement has been made again during this off-season.
The steadfast Mullica is doing everything he can to solve the nonsensical stalemate and fix stupid. He is a better man than Kroenke and Roberts.