Rams vs. Bengals: Which Political Candidates Do the Super Bowl Owners Support?

Like most NFL owners, Stan Kroenke and Mike Brown don’t just stick to sports.

While Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase will get a lot of attention this Sunday in Super Bowl LVI, they aren’t the only Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals receivers you’ve (probably) heard of.

Names like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have all been on the receiving end of political contributions from the two men who own this year’s Super Bowl teams.

An NBCLX analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found the Rams’ Stan Kroenke and the Bengals’ Mike Brown combined to have cut nearly $2 million in checks to politicians over the past 20 years. While Brown’s donations have gone almost exclusively to Republican candidates and committees, Kroenke’s donations come in a purple shade.

Who is the Los Angeles Rams’ team owner?

American businessman Stan Kroenke, 74, has made billions on real estate, as well as in sports and entertainment. According to Forbes, Kroenke has a net worth of $10.7 billion, thanks to his ownership in the Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal soccer team, shopping plazas and ranches around the United States.

The Kroenke family also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, which are held in the name of his wife, Walmart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, who has an estimated net worth of $8.8 billion.

Which politicians does Stan Kroenke donate to?

According to the Federal Election Commission, Kroenke has given more than $440,000 to federal candidates and committees since the 1990s, with 72% of that money going to Republicans. Beneficiaries include former president George W. Bush, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential run.

Records also show Kroenke gave an additional $1 million to the Trump inauguration committee following the 2016 election. A majority of the more than $40,000 that Kroenke and the Rams franchise have donated at the state level — predominantly in Missouri, where the Rams played from 1995 to 2015 — went to Democrats.

Stan and Ann Kroenke have been less politically active in recent years, making a total of just seven donations between them in the last decade. However, records show their children have been active, with son Josh Kroenke, an executive with the Avalanche and Nuggets, donating $33,400 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2016, and daughter Whitney Kroenke Silverstein, a philanthropist, donating approximately $35,000 to Democratic candidates including Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Beto O’Rourke.

A spokesperson for Stan Kroenke declined comment, while requests to Anne, Josh and Whitney Kroenke went unreturned.

Who is the Cincinnati Bengals team owner?

Mike Brown, 86, the son of Bengals founder and head coach Paul Brown, has been the principal owner of the team since 1991. Until this winter, the franchise had not won a playoff game since Mike Brown assumed control of the team. His individual net worth isn’t clear, but Forbes estimates the Bengals’ value at $2.2 billion.

Which politicians does Mike Brown donate to?

Brown, like most of the NFL’s wealthy owners, has been a reliable supporter of conservative politicians, also contributing more than $440,000 to Republican candidates and committees the last three decades, according to state and federal records. That includes the presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now-Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Brown did not support candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and he pushed back against the president’s stance on the NFL’s kneeling controversies in 2018. However, Brown supported President Trump’s reelection campaign in 2019 with a total of $35,600 in contributions.

Brown’s daughter, Katie Brown Blackburn, and his son-in-law, Troy Blackburn, both Bengals executives, are also politically active, making more than $100,000 in political contributions.  According to state and federal records, the Blackburns gave more than $100 to Republicans for every dollar they donated to Democrats.

A Bengals spokesperson told NBCLX: “Our team’s ownership family has made donations on both sides of the aisle over the years, however, out of respect for our coaches and players, we must respectfully decline to comment on private political matters at a time when our entire team is focused only on football and winning this weekend’s Super Bowl.”

Noah Pransky is NBCLX’s National Political Editor. He covers Washington and state politics for NBCLX, and his investigative work has been honored with national Murrow, Polk, duPont and Cronkite awards. You can contact him confidentially at noah.pransky@nbcuni.com or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.