The talk of the town has been the news that this time we are so close to landing a football team in the city of angels that we all can smell it, but that smell may be something that brings high ticket prices, traffic congestion and TV blackouts. In a battle fought in boardrooms for your dollars, two billionaires are waging war to bring football to Los Angeles.
Proving that the early bird doesn’t always get the worm, Ed Roski’s plan had a stadium being built in the City of Industry. He had already gotten the city to welcome it and had passed a huge hurdle in obtaining a favorable Environmental Impact Report. However, like a quarterback arriving in the third quarter, AEG unveiled a plan to bring a stadium to downtown Los Angeles with a mandate that it would work with the city to get a deal done ASAP. Also, replicating the success it had in building the Staples Center, it pledged that no city funds would be used to build the
new stadium. Before long, AEG had plans drawn up for a stadium just outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill expediting the resolution of legal challenges and in the process, speeding up the possible construction of the new stadium to be called Farmers Field. The city council has already given its approval of the downtown stadium compared to Mr. Roski’s stadium site some 20 miles north, which faced opposition from neighboring cities. Full Disclosure as the Examiner is owned by AEG’s Clarity Media Group.
But to understand the stadium drama surrounding Los Angeles, a brief history lesson is in order. The fight for a new stadium has been raging since the Rams and Raiders left on Christimas eve of 1994. Back then, the city had two stadium developments going including one from Peter O’Malley, then owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. O’Malley had spent ove a million dollars only for the plan to be nixed by the city who insisted a team play in the then city owned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Chalk that one up to our beloved politicians.
In 1999, the National Football League, actually awarded the 32nd franchise to Los Angeles. However, the franchise was canceled and given to Houston in the 11th hour. It turned out that Los Angeles could not get a few things taken care of such as who would own the team as well as a stadium location. The NFL was adamant in a new stadium being built as they were unimpressed by both the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum and the Houston Texans (who had already lost the Oilers) were awarded the franchise. Since that debacle, numerous stadium plans have come and gone including building a stadium right next to Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine until AEG and Ed Roski got there two stadium proposal submitted and approved.
This year brought new optimism with local teams such as the Raiders and Chargers growing frustrated with their failure to get a new stadium built. NFL teams for years had used the threat of moving to L.A as a bargaining chip, but this year seemed to signal a tipping point. Not only was L.A the second largest media market, but now billion dollar
entities were ready to put their money where their mouth was without relying on city coffers.
I won’t handicap the odds of what franchise will come here. However, the news about teams possibly packing up is unprecedented with aging stadiums and fluctuating revenues. It is almost a certainty that one of the teams listed will be packing their bags and moving and the announcement could come as early as January 2012. The teams most likely to rent a U-haul include the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Fransisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaners, St Louis Rams, and Minnesota Vikings. Although the Roski and AEG projects are seen as competing, there’s a good chance that both will have a team occupying their respective stadiums, but at what price remains to be seen.
Both stadium developments need a team to say yes to moving before they can start construction on the stadium and the league most vote on which teams will be allowed to come. In future updates, I will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of both stadiums as well as who has the inside track on coming to L.A. or the City of Industry. The NFL is
coming to L.A and knotmove.com will have all the latest news as thisshapes up to be an exciting NFL season.