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New Los Angeles Stadium

Aerial View


Farmers Field

Aerial View

  Venue Particulars  
Address Grand Avenue, Highway 60
Industry, CA 90601
Address 1111 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Official Website
Official Website
  Venue Resources  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in the City of Industry
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Los Angeles

  The Facility  
Date Opened Unknown
Majestic Realty Co
(Majestic Realty Co)
L.A. Arena Company
(Anschutz Entertainment Group)
Surface Grass
Cost of Construction $1.2 Billion
Stadium Financing $275 million in tax-exempt bonds. AEG would cover 73 percent of the costs and 27 percent would come from new tax revenues generated by the event center.
  Other Facts  
Tenants TBD
Population Base 10,000,000
On Site Parking TBD
Nearest Airport John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA)
Nearest Airport Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Capacity 72,000
Luxury Suites 176 Suites
Club Seats 12,500
  Attendance History  

Sources: Mediaventures

Real estate developer, billionaire and partner in the Staples Center, the Lakers and the Kings, Ed Roski unveiled a proposal for a new stadium in the City of Industry, about 20 miles east of downtown LA. The proposed stadium will have 75,000 seats and will cost upwards of $800 million. Roski already controls the land and, importantly, has already completed an environmental impact statement.

The question is does the NFL care anymore, and do the folks in LA even want a team? It's clear that the owners have far more pressing problems on the agenda at this point than putting a team in Los Angeles, not the least of which is the upcoming battle with the players over the likely re-opening of the collective bargaining agreement, which is likely to happen this fall. Expansion is no longer likely so to put a team in Los Angeles would require the relocation of an existing franchise. There are no shortage of possible candidates. The three that spring to mind are the Saints, the Bills and the Vikings, all of whom have stadium issues to work out.

The league will go out of its way to see the Saints stay in New Orleans and it is far more likely that the Saints will survive there than will the Hornets. The Bills are in the process of working out a new relationship with Toronto that may make their continued presence in Buffalo viable, perhaps as a regional team playing games in both cities. Minnesota still needs to work out a stadium deal and until that is done, the likelihood of relocation is high. Will that be to Los Angeles? That is a stretch at this point as there is a great deal yet to be done to get from this announcement to a team. I should point out that on the day of Roski's press conference, the state legislature blocked the City of Industry's plan to divert $800 million in property taxes to subsidize the project.

New Los Angeles Stadium

INDUSTRY - City leaders will move mountains to bring a pro football stadium to Southern California.

They’ll also build sewers, construct streets and install utilities, according to a contract at City Hall.

And they’ll give developer Majestic Realty Co. free use of $600 million to $800 million in public land for 65 years.

In return, the city will get half the profits.

It’s a deal that makes sense for both sides, said John Semcken, a vice president of Majestic Realty Co. and lead for the stadium project.

“We get a big reduction in up-front risk, and the city gets a lot of revenue over a very long period of time,” he said.

Majestic’s 40-year relationship with Industry has proved the company knows how to turn a profit, officials said.

“Hell yeah we’ll get our money back,” Mayor Dave Perez said. “Think about it. We still own the land. And think about how high rent is going to be in 50 years. We’re getting paid back and them some.”

Majestic’s proposal to build a $800million stadium and retail complex by 2011 has been called an “interesting possibility” by NFL officials. Majestic Chairman Edward Roski Jr. said he hopes to have an environmental review report on the project wrapped up by the end of this year.

That the city will ever recoup its cost from such a huge project is far from a sure thing, sports economic experts say.

“Wow. That’s a big chunk,” said sociologist Rick Eckstein, author

of “Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums.

“This sounds like one of those kind of hidden subsidies where money does not change hands but some other kind of assistance is provided,” he said.

Eckstein and other sociologists and sports economists say data from most sports-complex developments show the projects often do not earn back public subsidies.

But Roski has a track record of making profits on similar deals.

Staples Center and surrounding developments, which Roski built with Philip Anschutz, will earn back in taxes the $71 million Los Angeles used to subsidize the deal, plus $49 million in profit, according to a study by a sports economist Rob Baade.

In Industry, the city is already collecting income from Majestic’s Grand Crossing business park adjacent to the proposed stadium site, which also had a “50-50″ land-use deal and was completed in 2006.

The value of the stadium parcel is hard to quantify, because there is nothing to compare to a 65-year lease on 600 acres in the San Gabriel Valley, said Christopher Bonney, president and chief financial officer of the Industry office of Lee & Associates.

The land, if offered for sale, would probably fetch about $25-$35 per square foot, he said.

Six-hundred acres would cost about $784 million at $30 per square foot. But the land in question is hilly and large, so the price could vary, experts said.

Since the city’s redevelopment agency acquired the land in the early 1980s, it has been usedfor cattle-grazing by late Mayor John Ferrero, who died in 1996. His son still grazes cattle on part of the property.

The land has been under Roski’s control since April 2005, when his company and Industry’s redevelopment agency approved the 50-50 style lease in hopes of building a business park, according to city documents.

A redevelopment agency is a branch of city government that uses court findings to create a law that allows cities to keep part of the property tax generated from an area - tax that would usually go to other agencies, such as the state or county. The city typically uses the money to spur economic development, such as buying land or providing businesses with subsidies.

Roski approached the city to change the allowed use last year, and city officials say they would be willing to alter the agreement to work with Majestic Realty.

The project would include the stadium, retail areas, a sports medicine clinic and a training complex, according to information from Majestic.

Professional sports complexes have a long history of getting public assistance, even in Los Angeles, where voters and politicians have resisted using public money to assist billionaire developers, experts say.

Dodger Stadium, for instance, was built on land owned by Los Angeles and the federal government and was steeply discounted for the Dodgers’ owners.

“That was part of the deal at the Chavez Ravine,” said Baade, the sports economist who wrote the report on Staples Center. “In the case of Dodger Stadium, it was ballyhooed as private financing, but there was a major land subsidy. Almost all of these things are subsidized in for one thing or another.”

Perez said he “totally confident” the city will make money.

“We had to develop that land anyway,” he said. “It wasn’t going to stay

January 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - Voters in Industry approved the selling of up to $500 million in bonds for infrastructure improvements in their city, including some that would support a planned $800 million NFL stadium there.

The stadium, proposed last year by billionaire Ed Roski, would be built by Roski on 600 acres of city-owned land as part of a massive development that would also include retail and office space, as well as practice fields and banquet facilities.

Among those closely watching the vote were the Minnesota Vikings.

"The Vikings are watching these developments with interest," said Lester Bagley, the team's vice president of public affairs and stadium development. "But we are currently focused on achieving a workable stadium plan to keep the Vikings here in Minnesota."

The Vikings, who will push a plan to have a new venue on the site of the Metrodome, are last in the league in revenue. They were approached by Roski last summer, but owner Zygi Wilf turned down Roski's overtures to discuss moving the team. Wilf said last July that he wasn't "considering moving [the team]" and that "I'm not considering selling it."

The league is monitoring potential stadium developments in the Los Angeles area but has declined to comment on specific sites or teams that might move to the region. Roski's Majestic Real Estate Co. agreed with NFL officials not to make any formal overtures to team owners until Industry officials certified the plan, which is expected shortly.

Previous estimates were that a Vikings stadium could be built for an estimated $954 million, and Wilf has said the ownership group would contribute $250 million. The new designs should give the Vikings and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission a definite figure on the total cost of the project.

In California, City of Industry residents approved selling bonds to build streets in the development, add sewer and other utility connections and fund other civic improvements not related to the stadium. Additional projects could be identified as needs arose, said Mayor David Perez.

The preliminary vote count was 60 to 1. Industry last authorized an infrastructure bond issue, for $250 million, in 1978, according to Perez, and that money has funded improvements throughout the city for the last three decades.

The new bond issue had to be approved by two-thirds of voters and would be repaid by property taxes - though the exact amount of those taxes has not been determined. The vote Tuesday was one of two signs expected that the city, which has fewer than 800 residents and more than 2,500 businesses, is marching in support of the proposed stadium.

The City Council is expected to soon ratify a supplemental environmental impact report that would detail the stadium's effect on the area. Although some local cities have supported the stadium plan, its closest neighbors, Walnut and Diamond Bar, have mounted opposition, saying traffic and other effects on their cities from visitors to the development could be dire.

Perez and John Semcken, a vice president of Majestic Realty, said they expected a lawsuit seeking to block the project should the City Council approve the supplemental EIR. But they also vowed that they would ultimately succeed. (Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune)

March 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - The prospect of having a National Football League team return to the Los Angeles area inched closer after the City Council's unanimous approval of a stadium proposal. In a 5-0 vote, the city accepted an environmental plan for an $800 million professional football stadium proposed by Majestic Realty President and billionaire Ed Roski Jr.

The privately funded stadium will be located near the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeways, and has so far received strong regional support. But, there has also been opposition from Diamond Bar and Walnut, whose residents are concerned about traffic, noise and pollution impacts.

Officials can start negotiating with football teams as early as next month, said Majestic Realty Vice President John Semcken. But Semcken acknowledged that lawsuit threats posed by Walnut and Diamond Bar could delay the project.

"We are aware of the concerns of Walnut, and we are aware of the threat of litigation," Semcken said. "We are trying to work an agreement."

Attorneys representing Diamond Bar and Walnut claimed Industry did not properly follow the state's environmental act because it did not provide public documents within the required time frame.

Walnut's special attorney, Jan Chatten-Brown, said the city will now pursue its legal options after the "unexpected and unfortunate" approval. Chatten-Brown said she did not receive a complete copy of the environmental report until less than 18 hours before Thursday's meeting.

If Industry did in fact fail to comply with the law, which states that all documents must be made available at least 10 days before the adoption of the environmental report, the city could open itself to litigation, California Environmental Quality Act attorney Robert P. Silverstein said. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

March 26, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Walnut, Calif. - Walnut officials announced they have filed a lawsuit over an NFL stadium entertainment complex proposed for neighboring Industry.

The city in September took a formal stand opposing a 75,000-seat stadium- entertainment complex proposed near the 57/60 freeway interchange and has threatened litigation for months.

The 600-acre site was originally proposed as a business office park but billionaire developer Ed Roski, Jr. announced plans in April to build a football stadium and bring an NFL team to Los Angeles.

Walnut officials said they want Industry to produce a new environmental document reflecting that the plans for the site changed from a business park to a stadium.

"This is an entirely different type of project," said attorney Jan Chatten-Brown, special council hired by Walnut to deal with the stadium issue. "This project will have a tremendous biological impact in addition to traffic, noise and aesthetic impacts on the surrounding communities." The project violates various aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act, she said, including failures to correctly state the size of the project or seek possible alternative sites. Industry officials have maintained they feel the supplemental document reflecting the change to a stadium is sufficient.

City officials said Walnut could spend about $200,000 on stadium-related litigation - $150,000 of which has already been appropriated. The money is drawn from the city's general fund reserve of $15 million, officials said.

A representatives for Majestic Realty blasted Walnut's elected officials for failing to negotiate for mitigations and forcing litigation.

"We're not surprised they're filing lawsuits because they have no way to protect themselves now," said Majestic Vice President and spokesmen John Semcken. "They've never asked us for anything and the only way to ask for anything now is to sue us."

The lawsuit comes as the city grapples with rising divisions among residents and three possible City Council recalls.

Mayor Mary Su and Councilwoman Nancy Tragarz were served recall papers by vocal NFL stadium opponents who said they did not show strong enough opposition to the project.

Sheriff's detectives are also investigating several vandalism incidents from this month in which pro-stadium signs in front of homes and a sidewalk were spray-painted with red, anti-stadium messages.

Su said the goal of the lawsuit is to ensure residents are not impacted by the proposed project.

"We are all fighting for our beautiful city landscape, to make sure we have minimal impact," she said. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

April 9, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Diamond Bar, Calif. - City officials have agreed to accept $20 million for traffic improvements to deal with a possible new NFL stadium in the City of Industry next door. By accepting the money, the community agreed not to challenge the 75,000-seat stadium in court.

Another community, Walnut, has already gone to court to challenge the environmental impact study done for Industry.

Industry will pay for a "quiet zone" at the Lemon Avenue railway crossing and an athletic field at Lorbeer Middle School. It will also create an annual "community facilities fund" to be used for "parks, programs and services for the community," officials said.

The facilities fund is tied to the number of events at the stadium, but would be at least $700,000 a year, up to $1 million if there are a minimum of 24 events or 10 football games at the stadium.

May 7, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - The city of Walnut, which has challenged plans by the City of Industry to host an NFL stadium, is prepared to talk with Industry officials about settling their differences out of court.

The move comes after Walnut citizens showed up at a City Council meeting to discuss the issue and indicated they were divided on the issue.

The 75,000-seat stadium, proposed by developer Ed Roski, Jr. and his firm, Majestic Realty Co., would go on a 600-acre tract near a freeway exchange.

A meeting mandated by state environmental law is scheduled for May 22 and Walnut is covering its bases by coming up with a dollar figure for impacts by the potential project, officials said.

Industry officials said they hope talks with Walnut officials will lead to a settlement agreement out of court, but Walnut officials maintain they are still demanding a new environmental document.

June 4, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - Majestic Realty, the firm hoping to build a new NFL stadium, has ended talks with Walnut over the community's opposition to the venue. The firm says the city's demands called for projects that had little to do with the proposed stadium.

In Walnut, members of the City Council have adamantly opposed the Majestic's proposal for 600-acre, 75,000-seat stadium complex near the 57/60 freeway interchange in Industry. The project was proposed by billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr., who owns Majestic Realty Co.

Some of Walnut's requests reportedly included an aquatics center, a banquet facility, citywide landscaping, a 48-acre park and work to make Meadow Pass Road a through street. City officials say they will go to court in an effort to block the project.

Majestic officials also say they are not interested in acquiring the St. Louis Rams for the stadium. The Rams have recently been put up for sale. The Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis is 1995.

July 23, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - Majestic Realty officials say they do not believe the City of Walnut "is interested in meaningful and realistic negotiations" about the company's plans to build a new stadium in nearby Industry. Walnut opposes the company's plans and has gone to court to try to block the venue which could be the future home of an NFL franchise.

Negotiations between all parties ended May 28 and haven't resumed, stadium and city officials said. The company's comments were made in a letter to Walnut officials.

Included with the letter from Majestic vice President John Semcken was a confidential attachment that detailed how Walnut's settlement proposals weren't related to the stadium. All parties agreed not to release Walnut's settlement offers. Majestic provided a copy of its letter to reporters.

Some of Walnut's requests for road and intersection improvements include work to connect winding Meadow Pass Road through a neighborhood, building a pedestrian bridge at Mt. San Antonio College and relocating the Metrolink station on Brea Canyon Road.

Additional improvements for seven intersections would cost Majestic more than $76.9 million, Semcken's letter said.

"All of this appears to be an attempt to solve what appears to be all of the City of Walnut's existing traffic problems," Semcken wrote.

Semcken also disputed Walnut's claims that Diamond Bar's $20 million settlement included items that were not "highly relevant" to offset the stadium's impact. Diamond Bar is another community that reached a settlement with Majestic.

Those improvements - an agreement regarding a former Honda dealership site, investments in a city fund to offset gameday costs and a $1 million contribution to a new athletic field at Lorbeer Middle School - are necessary to eliminate the impacts of the stadium, Semcken's letter said.

Semcken also refuted the city's claim that the proposed stadium will not provide a boost the local economy. He wrote Majestic was puzzled that the city's concerns appear mostly economic instead of environmental and that those concerns send a mixed message.

"Full-steam ahead," Majestic president Ed Roski told the web site Fanhouse. "They'll play in the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl for two years while we're under construction," Roski said, "and we plan to open by 2013." And play host to a Super Bowl in Los Angeles in 2016, he added.

In January, a majority of Industry voters - all 82 of them - passed a measure 60-1 to allow the sale of $150 million in bonds to push along Roski's stadium project.

"I've got the land, the right location, and public money isn't an issue," he says. "I'll be outdoors, and I'll build it into the side of a hill, so the stadium costs will be low."

As for what team will play in the venue, Semcken told Fanhouse, "Jacksonville, Buffalo, Minnesota, New Orleans, St. Louis and the three California teams. Now New Orleans just signed a lease for 25 more years, so they're out. But the other seven are still in."

Semcken said Jacksonville and Buffalo are terrible markets for the NFL, and the other franchises are unable or unwilling to maintain stadiums up to current league standards. So they're fair game.

"You know what I think? I think the Raiders and the 49ers are eventually going to share a building in Northern California," Semcken says, "and two other teams are going to share a building in Southern California.

"Two teams. Then we'll have 25 weeks of NFL here. Ten preseason and regular season per team - that's 20. Both teams will be so rich that they'll make the playoffs, that's 22. Then they'll win the second round, that's 24. Then we'll have the Super Bowl, that's 25!" Roski isn't courting any specific franchise.

"No, we don't talk to any of them," he said. "We'll do our job first and the NFL will make its decision who comes here."

August 13, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The City of Walnut has approved spending another $150,000 to fight efforts by developer Ed Roski Jr. to build a new NFL stadium in the nearby City of Industry. The city has spent $470,000 since September on the effort. Walnut filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in March in an effort to force a new environmental impact report. Majestic Realty, Roski's firm, and Walnut were negotiating a settlement, but Majestic called off talks in May when Walnut asked for an aquatic center and other improvements.

September 10, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Sacramento, Calif. - Developer Ed Roski Jr. is asking the California legislature to certify that an environmental impact statement done for land he owns in the City of Industry is sufficient for evaluation of an NFL stadium he has planned for the property. The move is opposed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors which has asked its lobbyists to work with area legislators to defeat the plan.

The exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act would allow him to move ahead with his plans and would rerail efforts by the neighboring city of Walnut to stop the project. Roski originally planned a warehouse park and commercial center for the site in 2004 but later adjusted it to include a 75,000-seat stadium. He filed a supplemental statement to cover the changes. Opponents argue the project needs a new report because it is drastically different than a warehouse park.

Walnut sued Industry in March to stop the project. The trial is scheduled to begin in March 2010. Neighboring Diamond Bar also had objections, but negotiated a $60 million compromise with Roski's firm, Majestic Realty, and Industry.

September 24, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - The city of Walnut has agreed to a settlement with Ed Roski Jr.'s Majestic Realty Co. for a new 75,000-seat stadium in the city of Industry that could be the future home for an NFL team.

Report say the city made the agreement in exchange for $9 million, an annual cash payment and assurances that traffic and noise will be controlled. Estimates in the agreement suggest that Walnut could receive $350,000 per year if several thresholds are met.

Noise around the stadium will be monitored at the expense of the stadium developers, and loud events will not be allowed after 10 p.m.

Industry will also build a Los Angeles County fire station to serve the stadium and surrounding area. Once Walnut's lawsuit is dismissed, Industry will reimburse Walnut's attorney and consultant fees up to $725,000.

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg insisted that the parties work through their differences with a mediator. Steinberg postponed a Senate vote on a bill that would have granted an environmental exemption for the stadium.

Majestic had been lobbying for relaxation of environmental laws governing the development. On Sept. 10, the Assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill before Steinberg pulled it.

Walnut filed a lawsuit in March to prevent the 600-acre development, seeking a new environmental-impact study. The first round of settlement talks broke off in May when Majestic Realty accused Walnut of requesting nearly $800 million in items unrelated to the stadium.

If the deal isn't closed, the Senate vowed to take up the vote by the end of the month. The city of Industry must still approve the deal.

Officials also have yet to reach an agreement with a group of Walnut residents, which filed a separate lawsuit against the project on the same grounds as Walnut.

October 8, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - Officials with Majestic Realty Co., the firm seeking to build an $800 million NFL-ready stadium in the city of Industry, have been pitching the venue and its premium seating to potential buyers in Orange County.

Majestic Realty Vice President John Semcken recently visited Costa Mesa to make his pitch to 60 people at the Orange County Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

The talk is a quick rundown of the project, from the nearly 11.5 million people it can draw from within 30 miles of the site to how building the stadium into the sides of hills will save more than half a billion dollars in construction costs.

Part of the reason behind the pitch, Semcken said, is a concerted effort to reach out to a county with considerable spending power.

"We want everybody down here to understand we're getting close," he said. "We're moving from the politics to sales."

Orange County's median household income is $71,601 - more than Los Angeles County's $52,628 and the country's $50,007, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The 75,000-seat stadium would include plenty of higher-end options: 176 club suites and 12,500 club seats.

The project still faces a legal challenge before it can be built. Majestic Realty has lobbied hard for a state bill that would exempt the project from state environmental rules.

The bill may be approved as early as next week if a settlement isn't reached with a group of Walnut residents who filed a lawsuit against the project.

The company must also find a team to play in the venue.

Smecken says his firm in February will approach the San Diego Chargers and five other franchises about playing in the venue.

The Chargers expect to be playing in San Diego next season, said Mark Fabiani, point person on the team's push for a new stadium.

The team has a three-month window every February to inform San Diego city officials by letter that it's leaving town, breaking a lease that has the Chargers playing at Qualcomm Stadium through 2020. In 2010, a departure would cost the team $54.6 million, but the termination fee drops to $25.8 million in 2011.

"The (relocation window) this year opened and closed, and we didn't do anything," Fabiani said. "We anticipate that the one next year will open and close, and we won't do anything." Semcken said new talks may involve the Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings, the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

The San Francisco 49ers could also be pursued if a vote for a new stadium in Santa Clara fails. Semcken said the NFL could return to the area in 2010 but more likely in 2011 and that a team would play close by before moving to Industry in 2013.

October 15, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

California's legislature has approved a bill that would allow developer Ed Roski Jr. to move ahead with plans for an NFL stadium in the City of Industry without additional environmental studies. The bill now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who supports the effort.

October 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - In a Q&A with the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Majestic Realty's Ed Roski Jr. says he expects to break ground on a new $800 million stadium in the City of Industry as soon as a team is secured for Los Angeles and that he will begin work after this season to make that happen. The Tribune reported:

Q: In football terms, is pro football at your Industry stadium at the 50-yard line, 40-yard line, 30-yard line, 20-yard line, 10-yard line, 5-yard line or goal line?

A: I would say we are in the "Red Zone," but every football fan knows that is when things get tough.

Roski is also an owner of the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and says he will work with the NFL on the issue so that he can qualify as a franchise owner.

October 29, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to help speed up construction of an NFL stadium in the San Gabriel Valley. The legislation exempts the proposed 75,000-seat stadium from state environmental laws and is intended to hasten the planning process. The $800 million project by developer Ed Roski Jr. is planned near the junction of the 57 and 60 freeways.

December 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

More than 105,000 inquiries have been received by Majestic Realty Co. about buying tickets for a new NFL stadium planned for the Los Angeles area. Majestic is the firm considering construction of the venue. No team has been located to call the venue its home. In addition to the general admission inquiries, company officials say they have 36,000 inquires about club seats and 3,200 others wanting information about luxury suites. The venue is expected to seat 75,000.

July 1, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - A coalition of 72 environmental organizations are pressing state legislators to require an environmental review of new plans to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Just months after the Legislature waived environmental laws for an NFL stadium proposed for the City of Industry, the groups are demanding that lawmakers not to do the same for a stadium being talked about by the Anschutz Entertainment Group near its Staples Center.

"We cannot allow wealthy developers to buy their way into exemptions from state environmental laws," David Pettit, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council told the newspaper. "The entire point of our laws is to ensure that a project won't do more harm than good to our environment."

Pettit's group joined Sierra Club California, the Planning and Conservation League and others in sending a letter to lawmakers raising their objections.

Legislation has not been introduced, but environmentalists said they are taking seriously talk in the halls of the Capitol that a waiver bill is coming, and last October's bill for the City of Industry project was fast-tracked through the Legislature before opposition groups could fully mobilize, the newspaper said.

"This project is still in the early stages and all alternatives are being researched and evaluated," Michael Roth, a spokesman for AEG, told the Times.

The NFL has not agreed to approve a franchise for Los Angeles or City of Industry. It also has not talked to lawmakers on behalf of the AEG project, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the newspaper.

A full environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act could take a year or more, depending on legal challenges, which could put any stadium proposal by AEG at a disadvantage with the competing 75,000-seat stadium proposed by developer Ed Roski Jr.'s Majestic Realty in the City of Industry, it was reported.

July 29, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Industry, Calif. - Ed Roski Jr. is still committed to building an NFL stadium in the City of Industry, according to the Whittier Daily News.

"It will happen," Roski, chairman of Majestic Realty told the Daily News, making his first public comments since the emergence of a competing stadium plan in downtown Los Angeles.

Roski acknowledged the NFL's labor stalemate has slowed progress on his proposed $800 million, 75,000-seat stadium, which is fully approved for construction.

"Our expectation was to be further along than we are right now," Roski, 71, said in a wide-ranging interview with the newspaper.

"Unfortunately for us, the labor contract right after the Super Bowl became a focus for the NFL. So it definitely has slowed the process down."

Some experts have said the delay in signing a new labor deal with the players' union, which could last until next year, has opened the door for rival stadium plans to emerge, the newspaper reported.

Tim Leiweke and prominent sports agent Casey Wasserman announced in April they hoped to build a $1 billion NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles behind the Staples Center.

Leiweke is CEO and president of AEG, which operates Staples Center, home to the National Basketball Association's Lakers and National Hockey League's Kings - both teams in which Roski is a part-owner.

The newspaper said the move appears to have set up a battle between L.A. heavyweights - Leiweke, a well-regarded sports executive who is credited with helping rejuvenate downtown Los Angeles, and Roski, who also has a positive reputation and who serves as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California.

"We're still good friends," Roski said of Leiweke. "I try to separate (football) with the other things."

Roski told the Daily News there isn't a rift between him and Leiweke, who has long been interested in building a stadium downtown.

"I have a good relationship with Tim," Roski said. "And I want to keep it that way." Roski told the newspaper he believes Majestic Realty has the right design, way to handle traffic and amenities to accommodate an NFL stadium.

Roski said there is no timetable for the purchase of a team and construction of the stadium. The billionaire told the newspaper his group continues to talk with owners who might be willing to sell at least a part of their team and move it to Los Angeles, but he declined to discuss specifics.

However, he did address concerns NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has raised in the past about how Roski would pay for his stadium.

There will be a group of investors involved in his project, Roski told the Daily News, but he declined to reveal their identities.

October 14, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Reports say a new NFL stadium being promoted for the City of Industry, Calif., could be configured to host World Cup games. The stadium is being planned by Majestic Realty Co. and is competing with another plan for a stadium in downtown Los Angeles. That plan is being advanced by AEG and other parties. The reports say The USA Bid Committee for the World Cup includes AEG owner Philip Anschutz, who also owns the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team and co-founded Major League Soccer in the United States, and AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke. Also on the committee is sports management mogul Casey Wasserman, who was named as a possible investor in AEG's plan. The U.S. is making bids for the 2018 and 2022 games.

November 4, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Staples Center owner AEG is working on plans to build a downtown "events center" and bring an NFL team to Los Angeles in deals that could be finalized by year's end, the company's chief executive told the Los Angeles Daily News.

AEG is willing to invest $1 billion in a stadium complex and $300 million in a renovation of the Los Angeles Convention Center, creating a complex that would crown Los Angeles the "event capital of the word," CEO and President Tim Leiweke said.

"We will create an economic juggernaut," Leiweke said during a speech at the Valley Industry and Commerce Association's annual Business Forecast Conference.

Leiweke declined to divulge details, but laid out the basics of a plan he said could revive the Los Angeles economy by creating thousands of private-sector jobs. A key element of the project is luring a NFL team to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994.

Leiweke said he is in negotiations on various aspects of the plan, which he said could be finalized in 30 to 60 days.

The plan puts AEG in competition with a proposal by billionaire Ed Roski's Majestic Realty to bring an National Football League team to a stadium that would be built in the City of Industry, the newspaper reported.

Leiweke told the crowd of 400 that AEG's project - he insisted it was an "events center" and not a "football stadium" - could be used for NFL games, as well as the Super Bowl, World Cup soccer and college basketball's Final Four tournaments, the Daily News said.

The league has previously said it is reluctant to expand, but that one or two current franchises might want to relocate to Los Angeles.

"I think it's probably closer than you might think," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a member of the league's Los Angeles Stadium Working Group committee, told the Daily News last month.

"There's a lot of very qualified people and energy being expended to get that team in the L.A. area."

But there is belief in some quarters that the NFL has used Los Angeles as bait to get other cities to help fund construction of new stadiums.

Leiweke dismissed that happening in this case, saying that AEG's billionaire owner Philip Anschutz knows all 32 of the league's owners and has their respect.

"The good thing about AEG is we don't get used," he said. "We won't let L.A. get used."

November 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of AEG, the company that owns LA Live and Staples Center, told ESPN he has been meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding bringing a team to Los Angeles.

"We've been meeting with the league for a while. They are aware of our vision, which is how do we create a point of destination that gets multiple sporting events, multiple conventions, multiple exhibitions and trade shows for Los Angeles," Leiweke said on an ESPN radio show.

Leiweke said the 78,000-seat, $1 billion proposed stadium would be privately funded and would be built adjacent to the L.A. Convention Center and LA Live, but is several years away from becoming a reality, especially while the NFL is locked in collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the NFL Players Association. Goodell has previously said he would not work to bring a team back to L.A. until the CBA negotiations were complete.

"Until they get a CBA, nothing happens," Leiweke said. "We're at least a year and a half to two years away from anything really happening. Under the best of circumstances when they come back from the CBA, they're right into the 2011-2012 season."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times quotes Leiweke as saying the project could be completed in time to host the 50th Super Bowl in February 2016.

Leiweke said his group would ask the NFL to waive its traditional requirement that a venue be open for at least a year before being eligible to host its marquee event. He said that if all goes as planned, a privately financed, $1-billion stadium could be ready for the 2015 season.

A previously-announced mixed-use stadium in the City of Industry proposed by billionaire developer Edward Roski's Majestic Realty included provisions for local ownership if a team moves to Los Angeles, ESPN reported. Roski has also said he would not break ground on the City of Industry stadium unless an NFL team commits to move into it.

Leiweke was not as committal.

"You do the entitlement and design without a team commitment. You're not going to be pushing dirt on the stadium for a couple of years," he said.

December 2, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Magic Johnson will work with Anschutz Entertainment Group to help promote a new NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, the Pasadena Star News reported. Johnson's presence adds star power to AEG's bid to knock out a portion of the L.A. Convention Center to make room for AEG's stadium, which also would be equipped to host World Cup soccer games, the NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four and other events. The plan competes directly with Majestic Realty Co. Chairman and CEO Ed Roski Jr.'s plan to break ground on a stadium in Industry as soon as he can lure a team to move.

December 9, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke has reiterated his feelings that a deal with the NFL to put a team in Los Angeles will be done quickly - probably in the next three months - or it won't be done at all, according to ESPN.

"I am very focused on this," Leiweke said during a luncheon for Central City Association of Los Angeles. "I spend most of every waking hour on the NFL. I'm going to tell you this; we're going to give this our best shot in the next two to three months."

Los Angeles real estate developer Ed Roski has been trying to lure an NFL team back to Los Angeles for the past decade and currently has a competing proposal for a stadium in The City of Industry. Artist renderings of the proposed $800 million, 75,000-seat stadium, which has been fully entitled, have been around for over two years.

ESPN said Leiweke announced AEG is currently in the process of an architectural review for a retractable roof stadium and expects to cut the current list of 12 submitted designs to two by next week before choosing an architect in January. Leiweke, however, promised he wouldn't be showing off models and drawings of the proposed stadium for several years while the city and league drag their feet.

"I applaud [Roski] for his ten years worth of this vision but we're not going to hang around for 10 years," Leiweke said. "We're going to try to get this done in the next three months. If we can get an agreement with the city and if we can get an agreement with the NFL and if we can identify a team, we'll take risks on the vote of the [NFL] owners a year from now or two years from now on whether that team can move here. That's a risk we'll take. But if we can get the first three - an agreement with the city, an agreement with the league and at least an understanding of the team we're going to do this."

Leiweke's vision is to build the stadium where the current West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. A new $350 million convention wing attached to the modern convention center would be completed before the West Hall was torn down.

Leiweke said he is negotiating the deal with the city and is optimistic it will get done and expects to begin the entitlement process for the stadium in January.

"We have to come to an agreement with the city and we are negotiating with the city," Leiweke said. "It's not a difficult negotiation."

ESPN said what has proven to be a difficult negotiation in the past has been getting the NFL onboard with getting a team back to Los Angeles. Leiweke said this won't be a problem with AEG head and billionaire investor Philip Anschutz behind the project.

"We are partners with most of the NFL owners," Leiweke said, citing AEG's involvement with Major League soccer and various sports and entertainment events in venues owned by NFL owners. "[New England Patriots owner] Bob Kraft and Mr. Anschutz saved soccer in this country. Trust me when I tell you [Kansas City Chiefs owner] Clark Hunt, the Kraft family and Mr. Anschutz have a great deal in common with the way they operate business. They would love to have Mr. Anschutz in the league. They're helping us carry this vision out. We're close to [Dallas Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones and he has adopted our vision and get's it and he's very involved. We deal with most of the NFL owners."

Leiweke would like the stadium completed in time for the 2015 NFL season and ready to host the 50th Super Bowl.

ESPN said AEG has other interests in mind by building a new multi-purpose stadium, which would not only serve as the home of an NFL team but also Super Bowls, Final Fours and conventions. After spending $1 billion on a 54-story JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hybrid tower, which encompasses hotel rooms, residences, convention space and restaurants, AEG would like to see Los Angeles become one of top event and convention destinations in the country. If they can get an NFL team while they fill up all the rooms and restaurants they've built at LA Live, well, that's great too.

"I'm a huge fan of [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell but we believe in the event, convention and tourism business even more," Leiweke said.

December 16, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

AEG has narrowed its list of architects to design a 65,000-seat stadium for downtown Los Angeles, the Whittier Daily News reported. The venue - which can expand to 78,000 seats - would double as additional convention space, enabling Los Angeles to move into the top five cities in convention-hosting capabilities. All three insist they can get the project done within the $1 billion budget and that building a stadium within the tight confines of the proposed site is doable. The finalists are Gensler, HKS and HNTB.

January 6, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who heads the City Council committee that deals with tourism and trade, said she wants a report on how a new downtown NFL stadium would effect operations at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which would share the proposed site, the Los Angeles Times said. "I think it's a great idea to bring a football stadium to our city," she said in a statement. "However, since the Convention Center is a city asset, we need to know the potential impacts that these plans may have on it." Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center next door to the convention center, has been talking up the idea of taking it over, demolishing a portion and building a stadium with a retractable roof as part of the facility.

January 13, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says AEG may be close to a naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance Group to help fund a new downtown stadium.

The Times quoted unnamed sources saying AEG was originally hoping for a 30-year deal starting at $20 million a year, with annual increases as part of the agreement. The current terms are not known.

The proposed stadium, which would have a retractable roof and would host NFL games, conventions and other events, would be located next to Staples Center where the Los Angeles Convention Center's West Hall now stands.

The newspaper said a naming-rights deal would be a significant step toward making the proposed stadium/events center a reality, paving the way for the NFL to return to the nation's second-largest market. It would provide guaranteed income, an important part of any stadium-financing plan.

January 20, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Orange County Register says Anschutz Entertainment Group's proposed downtown stadium project, expected to attract an NFL franchise to Southern California, will need the issuing of $350 million in municipal bonds from the city of Los Angeles.

The bonds would be necessary to cover the cost of replacing the Convention Center's West Hall, AEG chief executive Tim Leiweke told the newspaper.

AEG plans to spend $1 billion to build the Los Angeles Events Center, a 1.7-million square foot, 72,000-seat stadium on the current site of the Convention Center's West Hall. In a proposal, Leiweke outlined for the Los Angeles City Council Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, AEG is asking the bonds be issued to cover the cost of replacing the West Hall.

Leiweke also repeatedly emphasized AEG's confidence that it will attract an NFL franchise, possibly even two, if the stadium project proceeds.

"This is about the NFL and NFL owners," Leiweke said during a presentation to the committee. "And we wouldn't be here if we weren't encouraged by those men."

While AEG received much encouragement from council members, convention center officials, and local labor and downtown business officials during the hearing, the bond issue remains a major hurdle for the group.

"I think the stars have to be aligned for AEG to make this happen," councilwoman Janice Hahn, the committee chairman, told the Register. "And I think the stars are the NFL, the stars are certainly the city, and the stars are whether or not we can get a team."

The committee moved toward the creation of a working group to study the AEG proposal hiring an independent financial analyst to gauge the economic impact and potential risks of the project.

The AEG project, Hahn said, "is going to have cheerleaders but it also has to have watchdogs. The case for a stadium, and bringing a team here is a great case ... but we also have to have watchdogs."

AEG plans call for the stadium to be built on the site of the West Hall and the building of Pico Hall, a temporary convention hall directly over Pico Boulevard to be the site of conventions and other events during construction of the stadium.

"Given the public purpose and ownership of those facilities, the use of municipal bonds to finance the project is both appropriate and cost effective," AEG said in a statement.

The newspaper said the bonds would be paid off by an admission fee on tickets to stadium events, increased parking revenues, and additional taxes and revenue sources from the stadium and an expanded Convention Center.

Should those revenue sources fall short of repaying the bonds, any shortfall would be picked up by AEG, Leiweke said. AEG wants an agreement in principle by March from the city council and convention center that they are willing to move forward with the project.

"Essentially, we're going to make up the shortfall on the bonds," Leiweke said. "So in our world we have to assume there's a significant additional risk we just took on to build a brand new convention center in order to give it to the tax payers for free."

Asked if AEG would proceed without the bonds, Leiweke replied: "No. Then you can't replace the convention center and, by the way, then they'll be staring at a $50 million issue on upgrading the West Hall, and that one will cost the taxpayers."

"We're going to make a proposal and then it's up to them if to decide if they want to do it and if not our life goes on," Leiweke continued. "You know we're doing projects all over the world. It's not for a lack of projects."

February 3, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - If all the pieces fall into place, a naming rights deal worth at least $700 million would help fund a new stadium in downtown Los Angeles for possibly two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Times reported.

AEG, the entertainment company that, among other holdings, owns Staples Center and the L.A. Live complex, announced a 30-year agreement with Farmers Insurance. The deal would provide AEG's proposed project a crucial chunk of contractually obligated income, starting at $20 million for the first year and escalating incrementally every year after, individuals familiar with the negotiations, but not involved in them, told the Times. The price would climb to $900 million of a second NFL team is in the venue. The stadium would be called Farmers Field.

But for that to happen, many other actions need to take place, not the least of which is to convince state officials to bypass some environmental rules. The Times said comments by company officials and lawmakers suggest AEG wants immunity from lawsuits that could hold up the project for years. Lawmakers in 2009 gave such immunity to Ed Roski Jr., developer of a rival stadium project in the City of Industry.

"We don't think there should be a separate legal system for rich people in California," David Pettit, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which along with the Sierra Club and other organizations is fighting an exemption, told the Times.

AEG President Tim Leiweke was in Sacramento recently outlining plans for the stadium to Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who represents the downtown area where AEG would build, the Times said.

The speaker declined to tell the newspaper whether he would back an exception for AEG like the one the Legislature gave Roski. Pérez voted for the unusual waiver, which exempted Roski's company, Majestic Realty, from legal challenges filed under the decades-old California Environmental Quality Act.

Some lawmakers say it would be fair to grant AEG the same favor. State Sen. Tony Strickland, vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, has offered to push for it.

"If you are going to give it to one, why not give it to the other?" Strickland told the Times. "I told them they can call on me. I'm going to do whatever I can."

Leiweke says AEG wants only what the Legislature gave Roski.

"We are hoping that the city and the state cooperate with us on CEQA protection that is exactly the same that was provided to the City of Industry, simply because we do not want unwarranted lawsuits," Leiweke told a Los Angeles City Council committee.

He has assured elected officials that AEG will comply with key requirements of the environmental law by conducting and making public an environmental impact study, complete with plans for reducing the impact of traffic, noise, air pollution and other problems.

Roski did an environmental study for his proposal, but the project was bogged down in court when area residents filed lawsuits alleging that the review was inadequate. The Legislature then allowed the project to go forward by exempting it from the legal challenges.

Another hurdle for AEG will be convincing the Los Angeles City Council to go along with the plan and the council has a history of being skeptical about such projects.

Formal debate on the issue has already begun and some council members say more study is needed before they make any agreements.

"We're already on a tightrope," Councilman Paul Koretz told the Times. "One wrong step and we could push the city into bankruptcy."

Other council members were supportive, saying the project could bring new revenue to the city with little investment or risk.

One of the project's supporters is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who revealed to the Times that he met secretly with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in December to discuss the NFL-to-L.A. situation, and added that he's met with at least one league ownership group interested in moving.

The Vikings, Chargers, Jacksonville, St. Louis, San Francisco, Buffalo and Oakland are the teams believed most likely to move based on current stadium leases or lagging attendance. Leiweke said he's been in talks with the Rose Bowl and Coliseum about serving as a temporary home to a team that would move.

AEG is asking the city to issue $350 million in bonds. The money would pay for tearing down and rebuilding the Convention Center's West Hall and parking and would pay off the remaining debt on the hall.

The Orange County Register said Leiweke reiterated that AEG will pay the difference between revenues directed at paying off the bonds and the actual yearly debt service.

The Times said AEG's proposal calls for the stadium to be used not just for 10 football games a year, but other sports events such as NCAA Final Fours and major soccer games and for conventions. Farmers has been promised at least 50 events per year, with an attendance of at least 40,000 per event.

The Industry proposal is significantly ahead of the downtown bid in that it is shovel-ready with a piece of land that already has necessary zoning and the environmental exemption that AEG is seeking from the state. Additionally, Industry backers say their site is far more accessible for fans in San Bernardino and Orange counties, as well as much of Los Angeles.

AEG hopes to have the stadium built in time for the 2015 NFL season, so the stadium could host the 50th Super Bowl in early 2016. The timing is meaningful to the NFL because L.A. was the site of the first Super Bowl. Making the deadline even tighter, AEG would have to build the new West Hall before beginning demolition on the existing one, so no currently booked conventions would be disrupted.

February 17, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Anschutz Entertainment Group has offered to make lease payments for use of city land as part of a financing deal for a new NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, according to a transaction outline submitted to city negotiators and reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

AEG lists rent from a proposed ground lease as part of the revenues that would be used to repay city bonds that would be issued in connection with the project, the newspaper said.

AEG President Timothy J. Leiweke and First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner previously told The Times the developer might propose a $1-a-year lease for the city property.

The three-page document does not indicate how much would be derived from a long-term lease of the land. But rent "to be determined" was the first item listed in a repayment plan for the $325 million to $350 million in city bonds that would be issued to tear down and relocate part of the Los Angeles Convention Center - a move that would create room for a 64,000-seat, $1-billion stadium.

The document reiterates promises that the stadium itself will be entirely privately financed and that AEG will protect taxpayers by covering any shortfall in payments on the convention center construction.

In an accompanying letter to the city, Leiweke said the stadium would be built in a way that does not "divert existing tax revenues" or put the city's finances at risk.

The letter and transaction outline were provided to city officials the evening before the first meeting of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Blue Ribbon Commission charged with reviewing the proposed stadium and convention center project.

Although few new details and numbers were included in the proposal, AEG said the city bonds would be repaid using the land lease, fees on stadium tickets, fees on Staples Center tickets, new parking revenue and new advertising revenue from signs that would installed on the convention center, the Times reported.

The bonds also would be repaid with increased revenue from sales taxes, business licenses taxes, utility taxes and property taxes generated by the stadium and the new, more marketable convention center operation, according to the plan.

Leiweke has told the Times that even with the various revenues streams, AEG may have to spend $6 million to $8 million annually to make up the difference on debt payments on the convention center.

The proposal also clarifies that the city-issued bonds for the convention center would be tax-exempt. And it states that AEG will seek the right to install new signs on the exterior of the rebuilt convention center and new accompanying parking structures, which would be city-owned. Negotiations on the proposal are expected to begin in the coming days. A final deal requires approval by the mayor and City Council.

March 10, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says city council members are beginning to raise questions about plans for an NFL stadium and expanded convention center downtown.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, which the Times says raised some of the strongest objections, laid out what he called "vital questions" that need answers before the stadium can be approved. In addition to being built on city land, the development would rely on city revenue bonds.

"Cities have a history of entering into deals to build football stadiums without doing their due diligence," the councilman wrote in a letter to city negotiators working on the $1.4 billion deal. "The result often places unnecessary strain on the city's budget and diverts money from core services."

Among the issues he raised:

* Could stadium construction limit future expansion options for the convention complex, as it seeks to remain competitive with other top conference destinations?
* How would the new exhibition space on the stadium floor compare in terms of marketability with more traditional configurations elsewhere "where all the space is within the convention center?"
* How can the construction, including demolition and relocation of one major convention hall, occur without causing disruptions and potential loss of revenue from existing event customers, and who would make up any losses?
* How would football demands on stadium usage potentially conflict with such things as the November Auto Show and convention exhibitors that may need to set up and tear down during weekends when the stadium is in use?

"Those questions in my mind are critical," Rosendahl said. "My bottom line, my main goal is where does the city of Los Angeles financially get impacted, or does it not?"

AEG, the company that proposed the project, said negotiations remain in the early stages, and such queries would be answered as they proceed.

"We recognize that the City Council and the Mayor will ultimately need to get comfortable that the public's interests are properly served by any proposed transaction," the company said in a statement, adding that the developers would be "carefully listening to issues and concerns raised by the City and the public and striving to address those in a mutually satisfactory manner."

Under AEG's plan, the city would issue $350 million in bonds to tear down and rebuild the Convention Center's West Hall. AEG has pledged to pay for the bonds, but Rosendahl has questions about how the money would be paid back, if doing so would divert funds that would otherwise pay for police and other essential city services, and what kind of guarantee AEG will offer to insure that the city is not left on the hook for the bonds.

Meanwhile, there have also been changes in a competing project planned by Majestic Realty Co. in the City of Industry.

At the request of the NFL, planners of a proposed football stadium are no longer using the City of Industry when referring to the location of their 75,000-seat venue, the Times said. The $800-million project is now being referred to as "Grand Crossing," John Semcken, Majestic vice president told the newspaper.

The name change may be an effort by the NFL and the developer to give the stadium a better image. Semcken says the City of Industry had no objections to the name change.

March 24, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

City of Industry, Calif. - Billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr., who hopes to build a football stadium in the City of Industry in a competition with one proposed by AEG in downtown Los Angeles, has dropped his team of lobbyists and public relations consultants, the Contra Costa Times reported.

Senior Vice President John Semcken told the newspaper work on their project has moved to a new stage and they no longer need the help they required.

"We decided a couple of months ago that we would be hiring some local people to make sure message and benefits of our project are understood by the L.A. City Council when they are making their deliberations," Semcken said.

"We hired someone to help us with meeting members of the council and that part is done. We also hired someone to help get our message out to the general public and we think we have done that." Semcken said Roski still retains a number of lobbyists in Sacramento, working on other projects being developed by Roski's Majestic Realty Co.

"We are now at the point where we are ready to break ground tomorrow," Semcken said. "All we need is a team."

Roski has developed plans for a 75,000-seat stadium, with an estimated cost of $800 million. It would be at the junction of the 57 and 80 freeways in Industry.

April 14, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - A proposed downtown National Football League stadium could require an approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, not just officials at City Hall, the Los Angeles Times suggests.

A Times review of records spanning nearly half a century of financial and development issues involving the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the stadium would be built, shows that the county board has had to consider and vote on a range of city proposals involving the complex. That is because since Mayor Sam Yorty's era, the two governments have been bound by a joint powers agreement created for construction and operation of the Convention Center, the newspaper said.

The firm behind the stadium proposal, Anschutz Entertainment Group, has a track record and political allies at City Hall, where the plan generally has been well-received. But The Times said the company hasn't sought county assistance or involvement in the project.

"We're not asking anything out of the county because we don't want to deal with them," AEG President Tim Leiweke told The Times earlier this year during a discussion of the stadium and $350 million in proposed city borrowing for related Convention Center work.

An AEG spokesman recently said, "We don't anticipate the involvement of the county or the Board of Supervisors."

But he added that it was early in project negotiations and "premature to speculate about what approvals would be required in connection with the transaction and, in particular, the issuance of bonds by the city," the Times reported.

City and county officials last voted to change the Convention Center agreement 13 years ago, clearing the way for construction of AEG's Staples Center. The company now wants to relocate and upgrade part of the Convention Center to make room for a privately owned stadium that would complement its arena, hotel and entertainment holdings.

In initial interviews, some officials seemed only vaguely aware of the interagency pact signed in 1967. After some research, county Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ellen Sandt said the $1.4 billion stadium project could require a Board of Supervisors vote, depending on how the deal was negotiated at City Hall. Changes to existing financing and certain land uses could necessitate altering the city-county contract, she said.

The Times said county officials have tended to defer to the city on the Convention Center because the city owns the land, backs financing bonds and appoints most members of a hybrid board that oversees the center. Thus far, county supervisors have not voiced strong opinions on the stadium project.

April 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Final City Hall approvals for a downtown Los Angeles pro football stadium could take a year, considerably longer than the project's developer initially wanted, according to a new report reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

The Times also says that any deal would require an NFL team to commit to remaining in the venue for 20 to 30 years.

At the request of the City Council, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller agreed to explore how the city can guarantee that a team would not leave the stadium with the city still owing money.

"This is one of the major issues," Miller told the newspaper.

Key deal points of the $1.4-billion project next to Staples Center are expected to be presented to City Council members and the public in about three months, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller, the city's chief representative in closed-door negotiations, wrote to council members.

If a tentative deal is approved after public hearings, detailed legal agreements would be drafted and presented to the council for a vote in about 12 months, Miller wrote in an update to a special council committee reviewing the proposal.

The Times said Timothy J. Leiweke, president and chief operating officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the stadium developer, said early this year that he hoped to have an agreement with the city in March. AEG is pushing to complete the project, which includes moving part of the city-owned Convention Center, in time to bring the 50th Anniversary 2016 Super Bowl back to Los Angeles, where the first championship game was played.

Following the report, AEG said in a statement, "We believe that the timeline described by Gerry Miller is appropriate and we are continuing to move forward with the project.... We look forward to an open and transparent process."

June 9, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - AEG's Tim Leiweke, spearheading an effort to build an NFL stadium next to Staples Center, told the Los Angeles Times the project could be scuttled if the city doesn't sign off on the framework of a deal by July 31.

"We will know by July 31, one way or another," Leiweke, the sports and entertainment company's chief executive, told the Times.

Leiweke wants the city to issue $350 million in municipal bonds to relocate the West Hall of the Convention Center – where the proposed Farmers Field will sit – and has promised those will be paid off by new revenue streams created by the project. Any shortfall in annual bond payments would be paid by AEG, Leiweke said.

"I don't think we're meeting with resistance," he said. "I think it's the reality of taking on the huge challenge of using football as an opportunity to also create a vision that gets this city in the top five in the events/convention business."

Gerry Miller, the city's chief legislative analyst, declined to comment to the newspaper on the status or timing of talks. He is leading the team of staffers negotiating the initial elements of a deal that would be brought back to the City Council.

Although a completed deal with the city would take months, AEG is looking for a so-called memorandum of understanding before the 15-member City Council breaks for the summer on Aug. 1. The Times said such a memorandum would require a simple majority to pass. That would keep the project on track to open for the 2016 NFL season.

While saying he's "optimistic" that the city has approached negotiations in a purposeful way, Leiweke said billionaire Philip Anschutz is prepared to pull the plug if the uncertainty drifts into August, thereby opting not to spend an estimated $45 million over the next year on an environmental impact report, stadium designs and replacement hall, and pursuing an NFL team.

"Will we get to the right place? I think so," Leiweke said. "But I'm OK if we get to July 31 and we don't get a deal done, and we move on, and I didn't spend $45 million of Phil's money."

If it reaches that point, Leiweke said, "You begin to acknowledge we gave it our best shot and it didn't work."

Leiweke said a big part of the problem in persuading Los Angeles to make a deal for a new football stadium is the rampant mistrust between the city and the NFL - largely created by so many false starts on stadium concepts.

Leiweke said NFL owners "don't have a lot of faith" in L.A., and L.A. "doesn't have faith in the NFL, either."

Leiweke said persuading a franchise to relocate - while allowing AEG billionaire Philip Anschutz to become a part-owner - is simpler than striking a deal with the city.

"There are 32 teams, and six or seven of those currently don't have a home that economically works," Leiweke said. "Are all six or seven of those going to solve their problems in their current marketplace? No. We're confident that it's not just going to be one team. I think there are going to be at least two, probably more, that are going to have to look at moving in order to remain competitive within the league."

Asked if he thinks football fans in L.A. are clamoring for a team of their own – something that isn't readily apparent – Leiweke told the Times he has no doubts about the ability of L.A. to support either one or two teams, both in terms of selling tickets and getting sufficient corporate sponsorship to make the venture a success.

"Actually, the one thing we're most certain of," he said, "whether it be naming rights, founding partners, broadcast partners or people that want to buy tickets, there's not a thing we're doing as a company where the first conversation isn't football."

June 16, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Billionaire Philip Anschutz is prepared to acquire majority ownership in an NFL franchise in order to bring a team to Farmers Field, the downtown stadium proposed by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, AEG president Tim Leiweke told the Orange County Register.

Leiweke, in confirming for the first the first time Anschutz's interest in purchasing a majority share of a team to return the NFL to Southern California after a nearly 16-year absence, Leiweke also said he has spoken with officials from five NFL franchises: Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis and Jacksonville. Reports from say AEG is in talks with even more teams, but the additional teams were not named.

Leiweke said he last spoke with an NFL team "a week ago." That team is believed to be Minnesota. The Vikings are pursuing a $1.05 billion stadium proposal in which Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota would pick up $650 million of the tab.

"St. Louis, Jacksonville, not extensively, certainly Oakland, San Diego, Minnesota are still in the mix," Leiweke said listing the teams AEG has met with before adding: "We're not packing any (moving) vans right now."

Leiweke also said AEG is prepared to pay the cost of for an NFL franchise to get out of a current lease so as to relocate to Los Angeles.

"Just as an example, if it's San Diego, they would have to pay $24 million under their agreement to get out of the lease," Leiweke said. "We would pay that."

Leiweke, speaking earlier to a community group in Pacific Palisades, said the $1.35 billion Farmers Field and Los Angeles Convention renovation project would create $45 million annually in new taxes, according to early data from an economic report prepared for AEG that soon will be released, the Register said.

That $45 million will be generated by new hotel bed, property, employee and sales taxes that would go directly to the City of Los Angeles' general fund.

AEG and Los Angeles officials are negotiating a ground lease for Farmers Field in the millions annually that will help cover shortfalls in the repayment of $350 million in public bonds for the renovation of the convention center's West Hall.

Debt service for the bonds is estimated at $25 million annually over a 30-year period. AEG has proposed a seat tax on events at Farmers Field to help cover debt service on the bonds.

AEG has acknowledged in the initial years of the bonds there would be an estimated $6 million to $8 million annual shortfall between the debt service and revenues created to pay off the bonds. Leiweke said AEG would write a check to cover any remaining shortfall.

The Register said Leiweke confirmed that AEG has been working on an environmental impact report (EIR) for eight months and hopes to have the report completed by May 31, 2012.

He reiterated AEG's July 31 deadline for reaching a memorandum of understanding with the Los Angeles City Council in order for AEG to move forward with the project. The council is expected to adjourn for the summer between July 31 and Aug.15. AEG hopes to have a deal finalized with the city by May 2012.

Leiweke said the MOU is vital if AEG is to break ground on the project next June, which would enable it to open the stadium in September 2016.

June 23, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles' top policy advocate has recommended that the City Council oppose any attempts to bend state environmental rules for a football stadium proposed next to the Convention Center downtown, the Los Angeles Times reported. Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry F. Miller, who has been negotiating the stadium details with developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, is backing a pending council resolution that calls for the city to fight "any legislation that would subvert or accelerate the [California Environmental Quality Act] process." AEG has not specifically said it wants such an exemption. But earlier this year, executives spoke with state legislators about finding ways to prevent frivolous lawsuits from delaying stadium construction, the Times said. In 2009, lawmakers gave such immunity to a competing stadium developer in the City of Industry by exempting them from some of the state environmental law.

June 30, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Executive Tim Leiweke, spearheading a drive to build a downtown NFL stadium, said AEG will present a revised financing plan to the city, one that calls for less money in bonds and contractually obligated revenue to cover them, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Leiweke, speaking at a town hall meeting in Mar Vista, said the original request of $350 million in municipal bonds to relocate the West Hall of the Convention Center, where the proposed Farmers Field will sit, will be reduced to "the high $200 millions." The bonds would be reduced because AEG would pay for and control two parking garages. Further, he said AEG will lease the stadium land and secure advertising deals that, when combined, will equal the bond payments. The previous plan called for AEG to cover payment shortfalls on a year-by-year basis, the Times said.

"The general fund will not be at risk," said Leiweke, who will present the latest plan to the city's ad hoc committee reviewing the offer.

Leiweke said AEG needs to know by July 31 - after which the City Council goes on summer break - if the city will agree to the framework of a deal. He said that deadline will keep the company on track to begin construction of a new West Hall on June 1, 2012, which will require two years. He said a stadium would be ready for the start of the 2016 season.

July 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Construction of a $1 billion NFL stadium and a new wing of the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles would dramatically increase the number of convention bookings while generating $22 million annually for the city, according to the findings of two reports commissioned by the project's developer.

The Los Angeles Times said one study contends the two projects would generate $41 million in tax revenue annually for an array of government agencies, including the state, school district and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, during their first full year in operation in 2016.

A second consultant said he found that major convention bookings would jump from 24 in 2012 to 38 in 2016 if the two facilities were completed.

Both reports were paid for by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is in talks with the city over an agreement to build the two facilities in tandem. The Times obtained summaries of the reports, but AEG officials say they have no plan to make the studies themselves public.

"The studies from these independent and well-respected economists confirm our belief that the Convention Center modernization and Farmers Field development will create tens of millions in tax revenues and a tremendous economic boost to the region," AEG spokesman Michael Roth told the newspaper.

A draft agreement between the city and AEG is expected to be available to the public by next week. A full City Council debate on the stadium, known as Farmers Field, is scheduled for July 29. Councilman Paul Krekorian said he examined the findings but would need to know more of the consultants' assumptions before drawing any conclusions. He told the Times he intends to ask AEG for the entire study.

"Without a full report, I put no weight in a consultant's summary," he said.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said the city would perform its own economic analysis.

Under the proposal, the city must demolish and rebuild a portion of the Convention Center to make way for the football stadium. That project would cost up to $290 million. Some of the new tax revenue the city would receive is expected to be applied toward the financing of the Convention Center work.

Bruce Baltin, one of the two AEG-hired consultants, concluded that hotel bookings from increased conventions would more than double by 2016 to 551,000 room nights. By comparison, San Diego had 600,000 convention room nights in 2010, and San Francisco had 810,000 last year, he said.

Baltin predicted that completing the stadium, building 2,400 new hotel rooms and upgrading the Convention Center to create more than 500,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space would pump an additional $175 million each year into the city's economy.

The Times said Baltin was previously the city's consultant on several high-profile projects, analyzing hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for AEG's L.A. Live complex and two other downtown hotel developments.

Meanwhile, LA Neighbors United, a Los Angeles community group, called on city leaders to seek a minimum annual revenue guarantee as part of the deal. LA Neighbors United wants the revenue guaranteed to fund neighborhood improvements across the city, including a sidewalk improvement program. Los Angeles has an estimated $1 billion in deferred sidewalk repairs outstanding, the group said.

"As it looks now, there is a high probability that the vast majority, if not all, of the tax revenue generated by the deal will go back into the deal, including for facilities management, operations and infrastructure," LA Neighbors United Founder Cary Brazeman, who is a former executive with CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said in a statement. "That would be a misappropriation of our tax dollars and an unlawful gift to the facilities operator. The deal should include a minimum annual revenue guarantee to the city, beyond the debt service guarantee. The project is going to generate a ton of cash on a prime site that could be redeveloped in other ways."

July 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - A financing plan for a new stadium and expanded convention center would protect taxpayers by requiring the developer to absorb a greater share of the costs and risks, city officials tell the Los Angeles Times.

Demolishing and rebuilding part of the Convention Center - a move that is central to the stadium deal - would require issuing $195 million in bonds, according to a proposed agreement released by negotiators for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council.

The bonds would be backed by the city's general fund and repaid with new revenue generated by the project, including lease income paid by developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, parking taxes, property taxes and a one-time construction tax on the project, officials said. The general fund pays for basic services, such as the police and fire departments.

A further $80 million in city-issued bonds would be the responsibility of AEG, which hopes to open its stadium by 2016, according to a summary report on the proposed agreement. That debt would be repaid via income from a special tax district covering two existing AEG developments next to the stadium site: Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex.

If AEG fails to pay the taxes required to cover those bond payments, the city could foreclose on L.A. Live, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller, told the Times. "Those bonds are not on the city's books, so the developer is 100 percent on the hook for that," City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, L.A.'s top budget official told the newspaper.

The proposal sets the stage for what is expected to be nearly a year of more detailed negotiations between the city and AEG. And it represents a change in direction from the deal announced in January by AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke.

The Times said Leiweke initially wanted the city to borrow $350 million for the $275 million convention center construction, with his company privately financing the $1 billion football stadium to be known as Farmers Field. Last month, the convention center figure was whittled down to $290 million after AEG said that it, and not the city, would build parking facilities to serve the project.

Santana said the revised financing plan was pursued, in part, because city officials refused to accept AEG's plan to use new hotel and sales taxes to finance the convention center construction. "Those were just non-negotiable," he said.

AEG representatives said they agreed to the new tax district in exchange for two key concessions: an extension of a city ground lease at Staples Center to 2067 and more favorable terms for an existing billboard agreement covering the convention center.

In a statement, Leiweke said the reworked proposal would make sure the city's interests are "well protected."

But Councilman Bill Rosendahl told the newspaper he still wanted city negotiators to explore opportunities to share in stadium profits.

"I'd like to know what the sign revenue is going to be and how we can participate in that revenue stream," he said. "All this should be on the table."

Miller said 27 percent of the convention center project would be paid for from new tax revenue generated by the projects, while 73 percent would come from various payments made by AEG. Of the $410 million in new revenue generated for the city over 30 years, $200 million would be used to repay the bonds, he said.

AEG would also provide a series of financial guarantees, including a $50 million letter of credit during the first four years of the deal. Between 2016 and 2019, that guarantee would drop to $28 million.

The release of the so-called memorandum of understanding comes as AEG is heating up its campaign for the project. The company held a news conference last week to announce the support of various labor leaders, including the powerful Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file police officers.

The City Council is scheduled to take up the proposed agreement Friday. Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the stadium land, told the Times she did not expect an immediate vote. Even with council approval, officials said specific terms of the proposed agreement could be changed during final negotiations with AEG.

July 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Texas businessman Billy Bob Barnett, who once ran a honky-tonk billed as the world's largest, has enlisted California lawmakers to place tough restrictions on the stadium project thousands of miles from his home. That way, his lobbyist tells the Los Angeles Times, it won't become a boondoggle unfair to Angelenos.

Barnett, a 6-foot, 5-inch former Chicago Bears defensive end, is locked in a feud with the man behind the stadium plan, Philip Anschutz. The Times said the two have been battling over the prospect of competing concert halls in the Lone Star State.

There, in the city of Irving, Barnett wants to build a $250 million entertainment project 10 miles from an existing complex owned by Anschutz's firm AEG. Anschutz is helping to bankroll a lawsuit that could derail Barnett's plan.

Now the fight has moved to California.

"It appears that the objectives of all parties interested in creating good local jobs are in conflict with a failed Texas developer," AEG spokesman Michael Roth told the Times.

Barnett and his political advisors have persuaded at least two California lawmakers to help draft legislation that could undermine the stadium plan. One proposal would limit use of the facility to weekends, meaning no lucrative Monday night football games or Friday night rock concerts. Another would restrict borrowing.

A linchpin of the stadium plan is the sale of more than $200 million in city bonds to move part of the downtown Convention Center, making way for the $1 billion NFL facility. Barnett's Sacramento lobbyist, Jim Cassie, told the Times his client wants to help Los Angeles residents by ensuring that any bonds involved are a safe risk.

"He feels that if you are going to use bonds, they really have to be protected for the taxpayers," Cassie said.

State Sen. Bill Emmerson, described by the Times "as a moderate with a respectable measure of clout in the upper house," has introduced one of the measures. It would block the sale of bonds benefiting sports facilities until the state reviews them and reports to the involved city "on the future financial risk imposed on the taxpayers."

His bill also would require a professional sports team that benefits from debt approved by a public agency to post a bond to cover the borrowed money.

Emmerson said he took up the legislation at Cassie's request. The senator said he was unaware that Cassie's client was Barnett, although a fact sheet on the bill provided by the senator's office identifies the sponsor as OS Consulting, Barnett's firm.

Another lawmaker, whom Cassie declined to identify to the Times, has directed legislative lawyers to write a separate bill at Barnett's behest. It would impose strict new environmental rules on the stadium project, adding to the challenge of getting necessary government approvals. The measure also would include the ban on weekday events, according to a copy of the draft bill provided to the Times by Cassie.

Adding to the intrigue, the Times says, is that one of Cassie's business partners used to work for AEG's biggest local rival on the stadium project, Majestic Realty. Majestic wants to build a professional football stadium in City of Industry.

Cassie says the former Majestic manager, Meghan Loper, is not working on the Barnett legislation.

August 4, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says real estate developer Anschutz Entertainment Group cannot afford to share the proceeds of its proposed downtown football stadium because the financial return from the $1.2-billion project is too low, analysts told the Los Angeles City Council.

The statement comes as the Orange County Register reports on a memo that suggests the stadium could cost up to $3 billion.

The Register cites an estimate by Conventions, Sports and Leisure, the Dallas-based consulting firm hired by the city to examine the economic impact of AEG project, which said the final price tag on the NFL's return to Los Angeles could reach $3 billion for AEG.

"We agree that it is likely that AEG will purchase a percentage of the team and possibly the entire team," CSL director of sports services Bill Rhoda wrote to Gerry Miller, the Los Angeles chief legislative analyst, in a July 29 letter obtained by the Register.

In doing so, Rhoda wrote, AEG would be required to pay a major relocation fee, purchase the team and pay for the stadium. Those total costs could easily exceed $2.0 billion and could reach $3.0 billion.

When all costs are figured in AEG getting a team to relocate in Los Angeles would yield a 6.5 percent return on the company's investment.

The Register said a competing NFL stadium project proposed for a City of Industry site by Majestic Reality would generate $100 million in annual profits.

AEG officials declined to comment for the Register.

The project did record a major success this week with a 4-0 vote by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Downtown Stadium and Convention Center to recommend approval of an agreement between AEG and Los Angeles. The full city council will vote Tuesday.

During the council's first public review of the stadium's financing plan, Rhoda noted AEG will see its 6.7 percent internal rate of return from the project over 30 years, the Times reported. Projects of a similar size typically generate a return of 15 percent to 20 percent, he said.

The newspaper said the statements were a response, in part, to Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has pressed the city's negotiators to explain why the proposal does not include a profit-sharing agreement with the city, which has struggled through a series of budget crises in recent years. Rosendahl has asked repeatedly whether city coffers would benefit from a cut of the revenue from stadium naming rights.

Ted Fikre, AEG's chief legal and development officer, told council members during questioning that his company expects the stadium to generate a "substantial profit." But he said AEG, which also owns nearby Staples Center and the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex, is looking for ways to improve its investment return on the facility when it opens in 2016.

"As people full well know, we have a lot of surrounding property that would benefit from this project, and candidly, that's part of the reason why we're willing to consider doing a project here that no other stand-alone developer would consider doing in their right mind," he said. Rosendahl told the Times he was not disappointed by the explanation. He and the council's two other stadium skeptics - Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian - all told the newspaper they were moving toward supporting the stadium financial plan.

"I'm not there yet. But I'm getting close," Rosendahl said.

AEG has promised to build the stadium and two nearby parking structures on its own dime. But to make room for Farmers Field, as the stadium would be called, the city must first demolish and rebuild a large wing of the Convention Center. That would require $275 million worth of city-issued bonds, which would be repaid from such sources as property taxes, parking taxes and rental income generated by the site.

August 4, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says California lawmakers plan to hold a hearing this month to consider whether to introduce legislation that would protect a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles from environmental lawsuits.

Sen. Kevin De Leon told the Times he is calling the hearing as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Sports and Entertainment, which includes five legislators representing areas where new stadiums are under discussion.

AEG officials have said they plan to comply with state environmental rules requiring a full study of the potential negative impacts of a stadium, but have suggested they may seek protection from lawsuits similar to that granted to Ed Roski for his proposed stadium in the City of Industry.

"I've been clear with AEG from the start. I will not entertain the notion of a straight exemption like the one Ed Roski secured,” De Leon said. Other legislative leaders have also said they would not support such an exemption.

De Leon said he had decided to hold a hearing in a couple of weeks - it is tentatively set for Aug. 19 - on environmental "reform for the project” and the proposed financial agreement between AEG and the city of L.A.

The Times said lawmakers can expect to hear opposition from groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, to granting any waiver to AEG. Damon Nagami, a staff attorney for the group, said it was a mistake to grant an exemption from lawsuits to Roski and it would be a mistake to grant one to AEG.

"We feel strongly that no company, including AEG, should get a free pass out of the judicial system,” he said.

August 11, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles City Council has approved the outlines of a $1.5-billion deal to develop a new downtown stadium and major wing of the convention center, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"It is a very important project at a very tenuous economic time," Carol Schatz, executive director of the Central City Assn., a downtown business group and a leading backer of the project, told the newspaper.

"We're bringing the NFL back.... We're going to get millions more in additional development, and that means millions more in tax revenue. On this one I have to ask: What's not to like?"

The vote is a victory for politically influential developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, which overcame concerns from some council members and activists that the city was rushing into a risky deal that could compound its budget woes. In the end, city negotiators shifted more financial risk to AEG and promised a full examination of the project's environmental impacts.

Approval of the deal framework puts AEG in a better position to deliver on its plan to open the 72,000-seat stadium in five years and show the NFL that the company has overcome political obstacles, said AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke.

"It sends a very strong message to the NFL owners. We did it. We were unanimous," he told the newspaper.

More detailed negotiations will continue for months, but the Times said AEG can now step up efforts to pursue a team from another city – a linchpin of the development agreement.

"It's big for the leaders there to make the commitment they have," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who serves on the NFL's stadium review committee, told the Times.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, a key city negotiator, said, "We're serious about this."

AEG is already working on state legislation to limit the type of legal challenges - including one it fears from backers of a competing stadium in the City of Industry - that could be filed against the project on environmental grounds. Such lawsuit restrictions can provide builders and lenders greater certainty about large projects but are also highly controversial.

Developers of the competing City of Industry stadium, which also has preliminary local approvals, gave no indication that they were backing off, saying their project would generate "more money, jobs and long-term success for the region and the NFL" than the AEG proposal.

"We are more active than ever and are currently working with the league, owners and teams to bring a franchise back to Los Angeles," John Semcken, vice president of Majestic Realty, told the Times.

Under the proposal, the city would issue $275 million in bonds, money that would allow for the demolition and reconstruction of the Convention Center's West Hall. AEG would then build the stadium, to be known as Farmers Field, on the former site of the West Hall.

Revenue from both projects - including sales taxes, property taxes, and parking taxes - would be used to pay off $195 million in bonds. AEG would be on the hook for the remaining $80 million in bonds, and if it defaulted, the city would have the power to foreclose on L.A. Live, city analysts said. A vote on a final stadium deal between AEG and Los Angeles is slated for May.

August 25, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - AEG's Tim Leiweke, the point man for a new downtown football stadium, told the Los Angeles Times the Coliseum would be in play as a temporary home for a relocated NFL team only if it was USC - and not the Coliseum Commission - that cut the deal.

"There is no way the Coliseum works for us in its current situation, whether a team is playing there for one year or four years, Leiweke told the Times. "There is no way economically we are the engine that drives a renovation.

"Nothing's going to happen at the Coliseum unless it happens through USC. That's just the reality of the situation."

Leiweke also responded sharply to a recent comment by San Diego Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani that it would require a "miracle" for AEG to break ground on a stadium project by next year. The Chargers have been looking for a stadium solution in the San Diego area for almost a decade and are a top relocation candidate.

"I think the problem with the Chargers is, [Fabiani] can sit here and talk about all the things we need to go through," Leiweke said, "but the last time I checked, they've been doing it for 10 years and they're nowhere.

"And the difference between us and them is we've got a guy willing to write a check for a billion. They've got zero financing, zero entitlements, zero design, zero deal with the city, and zero property that ultimately is not contaminated. Good luck."

He added that the Chargers "are not the only belle at the ball."

"I'm not going to say anything negative about their project, and my advice to Mark is he ought to stay focused on his, and let us stay focused on our little miracle up here."

Fabiani, who made the miracle remark to, said the Chargers are currently focused on doing a stadium deal in San Diego and that "our fans deserve to know the barriers that are in the way of all of these projects - including our project here in San Diego. All of these stadium projects, from San Diego, to Los Angeles, to Santa Clara, to Oakland, they have a long way to go."

As for Leiweke's comments about the "zero" progress in San Diego, Fabiani said: "We respectfully disagree with Tim's view of our situation."

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing at the Coliseum between the university and the commission, the venue's landlord. Under the terms of the lease signed in 2008, the commission would complete about $50 million in stadium improvements over a 10-year period, upgrades that were supposed to be financed by the sale of naming rights.

There has been no major naming-rights deal, and the commission has yet to provide USC with a business plan that was due in June 2010 to explain how it intends to pay for the improvements.

That deadline has been extended twice - USC said it will agree to no more extensions - and the new due date is Sept. 30.

Under the terms of the lease, if the commission cannot pay for the improvements, the university can fund them itself and recover that money by withholding rent, the Times said. The commission, then, would not be able to make its rent payments to the state, setting the stage for the school to take control of the stadium by cutting a deal directly with the state.

While stressing that he is not intending to pick a fight with the commission, Leiweke said the only way AEG would negotiate to put a team in the Coliseum on a temporary basis - and he believes it would be AEG and the team's majority owner jointly making that decision - is if USC were calling the shots on the other end. Part of the agreement with the city calls for AEG to make its best effort to use the Coliseum, rather than housing the team in Pasadena.

"There is no question in my mind that if USC has the ability to run that building, we'd be able to make a deal with USC," he said. "I don't think there's a conflict between what we would need for a temporary home and what USC wants for their permanent home. I think it's a very viable option, but a viable option where the path must go through USC."

Bernard Parks, a city councilman and longtime Coliseum commissioner , told the Times AEG cannot force the commission to the sideline just because it prefers to deal with USC.

"They can't ignore the Coliseum Commission," Parks said. "The structure of running the Coliseum and Expo Park is in place with three legislative bodies set in place as a joint powers, clearly by state law, agreed on by the county and the city. They can't bypass that. ... They can't ignore the people who own the facility.

"You can't get an invitation to a party and then say, 'Oh, and I want to bring my cousin.'"

September 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Sacramento, Calif. - The state Assembly has approved legislation to smooth the way for construction of a $1.2-billion football stadium in downtown Los Angeles after Democratic leaders promised it would provide thousands of jobs for an economically distressed city and would set new standards for reducing traffic and air pollution, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, a coauthor of the special bill, said the project by Anschutz Entertainment Group would comply with the state's tough environmental laws even as it provides court review of any lawsuits challenging the 72,000-seat stadium project in a "timely manner."

Pérez said other projects also will be able to benefit from the special, speedy review that AEG would receive. An additional bill is being mulled in the state Senate to expand the exemption to new projects with a price tag over $250 million that win special environmental certification as green buildings. It would be joined to Pérez's bill in order for it to clear the upper house.

SB 292 was approved in the Assembly on a 59-13 vote. It would require any environmental lawsuit against the project to be filed directly in the court of appeal and for a decision to be made within 175 days. That would allow investors and the NFL some confidence that the project will not face years of costly delays, supporters say.

Before the vote, the head of the state Senate, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, was noncommittal, telling the Times he wanted time to review the intricacies of the 19-page bill.

On another front, AEG launched what the Times called "an unusually direct and public attack on one of the most prominent critics of the proposal."

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich had planned for the county board to take a position opposing AEG's bid protection against environmental lawsuits. But AEG revealed that his wife had been seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from the company's affiliate in Shanghai, posing a potential conflict of interest.

Antonovich abruptly abandoned his proposal, canceling the vote and handing AEG a victory.

AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke has also lashed out at Majestic Realty, a developer with plans for a City of Industry stadium that has been quietly trying to undermine the downtown plan in Sacramento and elsewhere.

Leiweke told the Times his company's recent assertions, coming just days before the Legislature goes into recess, were an effort to respond to critics.

"Everyone is taking free shots," he said in a statement. "Are we trying to set the record straight so that those that are questioning our intentions ... are called out? Yes."

September 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The office that advises the California Legislature voiced doubts about the level of economic benefit that would come from an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, saying studies commissioned by the project's developer "likely overstated" the financial boost it would deliver, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Speaking to a state Senate panel reviewing the plan by developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, policy analyst Mark Whitaker warned that football stadiums typically have a minimal effect on a region's economic growth, largely because they become a magnet for household entertainment dollars that were already being spent elsewhere in the area.

In many cases, families that have bought tickets to events at the Home Depot Center in Carson, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and other local venues would probably shift those same dollars to the proposed Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles, said Whitaker, who works in the Legislative Analyst's Office.

""This wouldn't be the case with all events.... There's no NFL team in L.A. right now, so that would be new economic activity," he said.

Whitaker gave his testimony during a three-hour hearing of the Senate's Select Committee on Sports and Entertainment, which was reviewing the economic benefits of the project and the potential for a bill that would allow AEG to curtail legal challenges to the project on environmental grounds. The written report received by the committee was even more blunt, with analysts saying the state and region would see "minimal" economic benefits from the project, the Times reported.

"The overall economic activity across the region would not necessarily increase but instead shift to Los Angeles ... with little net benefit to the region or state," it said.

Tim Leiweke, AEG president and chief executive, also appeared and said his company "will not move forward" with its stadium plans unless a bill is passed. And he criticized "those who occasionally come out of classrooms and question whether or not sports facilities have an economic impact," saying his company provides $100 million a year in tax revenue.

"Not only have we been an economic juggernaut for the state, the city and the county, but this organization has given back almost $80 million in charity and through our foundations, back to this community," said Leiweke, whose company owns Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex across from the stadium site.

Whitaker, the state analyst, said he expected some benefit to the city of Los Angeles from the stadium and the accompanying remodeling of the Los Angeles Convention Center, which would have its West Hall demolished and rebuilt to make room for the NFL facility. He also said the city's review of the two projects was "probably a little more realistic" than the report for AEG.

The city's report found that the stadium and Convention Center projects would attract, at minimum, an additional five major conventions a year. AEG's report put that number at 14. Whitaker said those additional events would benefit California only if Los Angeles were luring conventions away from out-of-state destinations - not competitors like Anaheim, San Diego and San Francisco.

September 15, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Sacramento, Calif. - The California Senate joined the House in approving a bill that would expedite a judicial review of the project and establish ground-breaking environmental protections. The Los Angeles Times said the bill, which passed by a 32-7 margin, would prevent frivolous lawsuits that could delay the project.

The 72,000-seat stadium, which would cost $1.2 billion and be called Farmers Field, would be located in the downtown section of the city at the current site of the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. A key component is that the West Hall would be demolished and a new Hall constructed immediately adjacent to the South Hall.

It's the latest step in the process to get a football team back in Los Angeles, the only major-market city in the United States not to host a National Football League team.

The Times said the problem for Phil Anschutz, the billionaire owner of AEG, is getting either an expansion team to Los Angeles or getting a current club to move to the city. Right now, the NFL has 32 teams.

September 29, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Plans for an expanded convention center and NFL stadium moved ahead this week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that limits lawsuits against the project, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Along with the stadium legislation, he also signed a similar but more far-reaching bill that grants certain large construction projects faster judicial reviews of environmental issues. Both bills are focused on "cutting red tape all over the state," Brown said. "There are too many damn regulations."

According to the new law, any legal challenges to the stadium would have to be resolved within 175 days. AEG spokesman Michael Roth said construction could begin, at the earliest, in June, which would allow the firm to meet its goal of having the stadium completed by 2016.

But not everyone cheered Brown's move.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors said public and nonprofit projects should also be eligible for expedited judicial review. And the environmental community has found itself divided over the bills, even though both require projects to include green features.

The stadium bill was supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council but opposed by other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club.

Kathryn Phillips, the Sierra Club's California director, said the governor and Legislature are "flailing" about in an attempt to find ways to create new jobs but have chosen the wrong method. "They are not going to help the economy," Phillips said of the bills. "They are just going to hurt the environment."

The Times said now that AEG has deals with the state and the city – last month Los Angeles officials approved a draft deal with the firm – it must focus on luring a team.

In recent weeks, Leiweke has met with the owners of several NFL franchises, although an AEG spokesman would not say which ones. The teams that could be in play are those based in San Diego; St. Louis; Minnesota; Jacksonville, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Oakland; and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, consultants hired by AEG are wrapping up an environmental impact report, which will be released in January. After a review process, the City Council will take up the report and the other details of a complex development deal that call for Los Angeles to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds to relocate a wing of the Convention Center to make room for the stadium.

September 29, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - As many as 20 percent of the 70,000-plus fans expected to stream through the gates of downtown Los Angeles' Farmers Field for a NFL game would arrive by mass transit, according to a new study commissioned by the stadium's developer.

The Long Beach Press Telegram said Mobility Group, an Irvine-based transportation consulting firm, estimates that 73 percent of spectators would drive to a weekday game at the $1.4 billion stadium proposed by Anschutz Entertainment Group. That total would jump to more than 80 percent during a weekend event.

While some 19,500 cars would flood the downtown Los Angeles area, more than 25,000 parking spots would be available on weeknights and 38,000 on Sunday afternoons, the study found.

To encourage fans to use mass transit, AEG is counting on light-rail lines and buses to ferry fans to the stadium.

The company's transit-friendly promise is essential to gaining support from the city and downtown neighborhoods. Additionally, custom legislation that would protect the developers from lawsuit delays requires AEG to make improvements to ease congestion.

"Almost all of our efforts will be on getting people out of their cars," William Delvac, an AEG attorney, told the ad hoc committee overseeing the development plans.

The preliminary traffic study will be part of the larger environmental impact report for the project and is expected to be released in January.

That report will detail ways that AEG plans to minimize the effects on the local community as it tears down and relocates the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, and uses the site for its 74,000-seat stadium.

For instance, in anticipation of crowds, AEG plans to build a second platform on the Long Beach-to-Los Angeles Blue Line at Pico Boulevard - the closest station to the football stadium - and sell game tickets bundled with rail tickets.

But with most fans arriving via car, The Mobility Group released a map showing available parking areas used in its transportation study.

If Farmers Field gains city approval – and AEG makes a deal with the National Football League to bring a team to Los Angeles - the developer could start work on the stadium as early as next summer.

October 13, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Oakland, Calif. - Speculation is increasing that the death of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis could change the dynamic in talks to build a new stadium for the team, including a possible move back to Los Angeles.

The apparent handing down of the franchise's controlling interest from Davis to his son, Mark, may well cause a seismic shift in the NFL's stadium construction and franchise relocation landscapes, with implications likely to reverberate across the facility-challenged state of California, according to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports.

"There's so much uncertainty, and this definitely changes the game," one NFL owner told Silver. "As far as L.A., now the race is on, and the Raiders returning just became a lot more viable." Two other NFL owners told Silver they believed the league would be receptive to a potential Raiders relocation south, given California's stadium construction challenges and the attendance issues the team has experienced since returning to Oakland in 1995 following a 13-year stint at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The groundwork for such a move may already be in the works. Six months ago, Al Davis sat down with officials from AEG - including the company's chairman, multi-billionaire developer Phil Anschutz - to discuss the possibility of the Raiders playing in a proposed downtown Los Angeles stadium, according to two sources familiar with the meeting who talked with Silver. However, Davis balked at Anschutz's insistence on owning a sizeable share of the franchise, and the talks went nowhere.

It's unknown whether Davis conducted similar discussions with developer Ed Roski, who is spearheading a competing stadium project on 600 acres of land he owns in the City of Industry, about 20 miles east of the proposed AEG site. While it is believed that the NFL would prefer the economics and location of the AEG plan - the three owners interviewed by Silver each viewed the downtown option as the more favorable of the two.

Silver said the Raiders' situation is further complicated by the existence of numerous minority partners in the ownership group, including a group of East Coast businessmen who collectively purchased a 20-percent share in the team in 2007. However, sources indicate to Silver that those relatively new partners did not have an option to buy a controlling interest upon Davis' death, meaning Mark Davis likely controls the franchise's immediate direction.

Forbes speculated that the team might have to be sold to satisfy estate taxes, but also suggested there was a way to escape them.

"The federal estate tax law includes an unlimited marital exemption. This means that Davis could have passed as much as he wanted onto his wife – both before he passed away through gifting, and after through his estate plan - and none of it would be subject to the 35 percent estate tax.

"So what happens when Carol passes away? That's when the problem will arise. Under the current laws, if Carol were to pass away, her heirs would be able to shelter only $10 million, and the rest would be subject to the estate tax. Sure, there are ways to protect more through proper planning, but most of the large bill would be unavoidable," Forbes said.

October 13, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Real estate magnate Ed Roski, whose bid for a stadium in City of Industry has for months been lost in the shadows of a rival proposal next to Staples Center, has changed his offer to teams eyeing a relocation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Roski has dropped his demand for a no-cash minority share of a franchise and instead is offering to hand over the 600 acres he controls to any team that relocates there. The team would then finance the stadium Roski has proposed, at a site recently renamed Grand Crossing, and sell him a share of the franchise at market rate.

Individuals familiar with the revised offer have confirmed it to the Times and spoke to the newspaper anonymously.

Asked to comment on the information obtained, Roski said in an email: "I am continuing to work to bring NFL football back to Los Angeles. The stadium at Grand Crossing creates a winning environment for fans, for the community and for the NFL now."

The AEG and Roski proposals are markedly different, the Times said.

The downtown deal would call for AEG to assume the risk of financing and building the stadium. The team would not own the venue but would receive a large share of the revenue that the facility generates from football games and other events, similar to the deal the Lakers and Kings have at AEG's Staples Center.

The Grand Crossing deal calls for the team to take the financial risk of building a stadium on no-cost land, and capture all of the revenue associated with the facility.

Roski touts his site as one ideally located to draw fans not just from L.A. but from Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties. He says it would take far less time and money to build the stadium he is proposing, one that has ample room for on-site parking and tailgating and could be ready for the 2014 season.

He has budgeted $16 million over the next six months to complete construction documents on an open-air stadium built into a hillside. That asymmetrical bowl would feature all general-admission seating on one side, with a gigantic video board facing those seats, and a tower of luxury suites on the other.

Tim Leiweke, point man for the downtown stadium, believes AEG's Philip Anschutz could put a venue in a more strategic and appealing location, and that the deal - complete with naming rights already in place - would be much more financially attractive for a team. That stadium would rely primarily on existing parking and public transportation.

The Times said NFL owners have quietly expressed concern that Anschutz is seeking to buy a non-controlling share of a franchise at a deep discount. That's probably a jumping-off point for negotiations, although it is not known whether the Denver billionaire is willing to pay closer to market value for a piece of a team.

Representatives from AEG declined to comment to the Times for its story.

In his original offer, Roski wanted to trade the opportunity to build on his land for one-quarter ownership of a team. There were no takers. The new offer calls for his buying an undisclosed percentage in a team – after selling his Las Vegas hotel and casino, in accordance with NFL rules – with no path to controlling ownership of the team.

Roski also would allow the team to control the entire site, nearly a rectangular mile, with the understanding that he would never use any part of it for a development of his own.

November 17, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times architecture critic says "Farmers Field has somehow gotten lighter on its feet and more bloated at the same time" after looking at new drawings of the project released by AEG.

The latest design by Ronald Turner of the firm Gensler represents an attempt to give the complex more transparency and openness than was contained in a largely conceptual version released late last year, the newspaper said.

Instead of an expensive retractable roof, the 72,000-seat stadium will be topped by what AEG calls a "deployable" roof, a collection of light fabric panels that can be stored outside the stadium. That change means it will take longer to close the roof - perhaps hours instead of minutes. But it has the architectural advantage of requiring smaller trusses and therefore a less massive structure above fans' heads. AEG and the firm it hired to oversee the stadium project, Icon Venue Group, estimate the roof will be closed at most about 15 times per year, mostly for large-scale convention activities and rare events like a basketball Final Four. It would remain open for nearly every NFL game.

"Turner and his Gensler colleagues also have made an effort to open up the stadium, and in particular the concourses running along its outer edges, to the L.A. Live complex surrounding it and to the rest of downtown. They pair glass with expanses of ETFE and PTFE - two kinds of translucent polymer - on the exterior of the building to give large sections a see-through lightness. The north end of the stadium in particular has been pared down substantially. Many fans will be able to look north from their seats and see the downtown skyline. These elements represent real progress," critic Christopher Hawthorne said.

"At the same time, the architects have made the puzzling decision to extend the roofline to the east and west in dramatic and largely superfluous fashion. This gesture gives the stadium a winged profile that not only leans heavily and inelegantly on late-modern architectural precedents but also makes the new design decidedly top-heavy."

The stadium plan represents an early stage of schematic design. Hawthorne said "that means there's still plenty of time not just to tweak but substantially rethink the architecture."

February 9, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says if the NFL puts a team in Los Angeles, it is probable the league would expand to 34 franchises. Appearing on "Costas Live" on NBC Sports Network, Goodell said the league "doesn't want to move any of our teams." "We probably don't want to go to 33" teams by adding just one new club if a suitable stadium is built in the Los Angeles area, Goodell said. Instead, the league would consider adding two. An odd number of teams would pose scheduling problems, including at least one club being off each week, and would create one division with five teams.

April 5, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - More than three months after a clandestine meeting that featured billionaire developer Phil Anschutz, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Anschutz continues to show no interest in changing the terms of a deal that would return the NFL to downtown Los Angeles, Yahoo! Sports reported. But within days, Anschutz let it be known to the Los Angeles Times that he was willing to foot the entire bill for a team if necessary to see the stadium project through.

The Internet site said that lack of interest means that plans for a downtown stadium to be built and run by Anschutz Entertainment Group may be all but dead in the eyes of many involved.

Speaking to Times reporters and editors, Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke downplayed the reports as well as talk of possible competition from a Chavez Ravine football stadium now that ownership of the Dodgers has changed hands.

Leiweke said Anschutz is ready to write a check for both the downtown stadium and a team as long as he can get a "reasonable" deal out of the football league.

The Times said his pledge to buy a full stake in a team marks a new level of commitment for Anschutz, who Leiweke had previously said was willing to buy only 50 percent of an NFL franchise. But the company is also exploring backup plans if the NFL deal stalls.

Three sources told Yahoo the four men met in Denver on the weekend of Dec. 18, when New England played there against the Broncos. Villaraigosa requested the meeting in hopes of encouraging Anschutz, who lives in Denver, to put more support behind the stadium AEG has proposed building. Part of that support would mean changing the financial terms AEG has laid out to teams that might move to the proposed site. AEG's terms include buying a minority stake in the team at a discounted rate and what amounts to a rental agreement on the stadium.

At the meeting, Goodell told Anschutz that the terms are unacceptable to the NFL and any of the handful of teams that have been targeted for a potential move to Los Angeles, including the San Diego Chargers. Kraft attended the meeting because he is also very close to Anschutz and does business with AEG. Kraft echoed Goodell's remarks.

As a source explained: "It was friendly, but boiled down to the view that no NFL owner would accept the terms proposed. If [AEG] wanted to get that much control over an NFL franchise, their only option would be to buy a team. If they were willing to back off the control and buy a [limited partnership] stake for a reasonable price, then a shared interest in selling suites/clubs/sponsorships could be worked out."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment on whether Goodell met with Anschutz. AEG spokesman Michael Roth declined to comment because AEG President Tim Leiweke did not take part in the meeting and Roth said he does not speak for Anschutz.

Villaraigosa has explained, according to one of the sources, that continuing to push the stadium idea through the city was akin to "pushing a rock uphill" if Anschutz didn't pursue the idea more aggressively. AEG has said that it will, among other things, put up at least $1 billion toward the construction of the stadium. In exchange, it has asked for considerations, such as the fast-tracking of the EIR, and has asked the city to put up bonds as part of the additional funding.

However, the meeting with Anschutz has thus far produced zero reaction from the billionaire, according to the sources. In the more than three months since the meeting, the NFL has not received a new proposal from Anschutz or AEG and has not been told of any sent to teams.

Yahoo said "the bottom line is that because of that, politicians in Los Angeles may be shifting focus from the stadium project to simply enlarging the Los Angeles Convention Center." The stadium was supposed to be built on part of where the center currently sits and would serve as convention space when not being used for the NFL.

"The end game for this plan was the convention center all along," a Los Angeles-based source told Yahoo. "That's what AEG wants to improve because the convention business is going to drive the whole area."

The area around the convention center now includes a section called L.A. Live, featuring the Staples Center, the Nokia Theatre, a hotel and numerous upscale restaurants.

Traffic plan released

The team was scheduled this week to release a report on how a new stadium would impact traffic in the downtown area. The Los Angeles Daily News, viewed portions of the report and said, "AEG's most ambitious proposal would involve widening the notoriously bottlenecked northbound 101 Hollywood Freeway, where traffic leaving downtown is consistently jammed. The developer has committed $2.5 million to study adding a lane to a roughly one-mile stretch of the 101 from downtown to the Glendale Boulevard exit."

Getting football fans out of their cars at Farmers Field is required by law. Legislation passed last year requires that AEG build a "green" stadium – a sports facility that draws fewer car trips than other NFL venues.

AEG is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metrolink to increase rail cars on nearby lines on games days. It proposes to double the size of the Pico Boulevard platform along the Blue Line – directly across from the stadium – to accommodate more passengers.

In addition to relying on the Blue Line, Red Line and soon-to-open Exposition Line, AEG will likely launch bus shuttles from parking lots far away from the stadium, similar to the Hollywood Bowl shuttle program.

The developer also wants to build wide sidewalks around Farmers Field to help pedestrian flow. But for those who still want to drive, AEG has identified 50,000 existing parking spaces within a 20-minute walk of the stadium and is planning to build 1,000 more, including two garages.

The company will also add 250 bicycle stalls to parking areas.

Leiweke also unveiled plans to redevelop Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, a largely concrete space outside the Convention Center, into a civic square that would also serve as a gathering spot for what he called a new, family-oriented tailgating experience. Officials said the park would bring together local food vendors, such as Roscoe's House of Chicken ‘n Waffles and Manuel's Tepeyac.

The park, combined with other more traditional tailgating, would "create the greatest tailgating party in history," Leiweke said.

New Los Angeles Stadium
New Los Angeles Stadium

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