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SEAHAWKS TO L.A., PART II: BEHRINGS SET FOR SOUTHERN CA
Published February 5, 1996
In an interview with the L.A. TIMES, Behring said he is "committed" to moving to L.A. and playing in a "state-of-the-art" facility by '98 or '99. Behring: "I'm a Californian and this is where I want to be. We're going to come down there with all the advantages of an expansion team and yet still have the advantage of having an organization in place. We're leaving all logos, pictures, trophies, stationery, everything behind and starting out as Los Angeles' team." Behring said he will focus on finding a Southern CA-based partner, with Disney a possibility. Behring, a friend of Disney President Michael Ovitz, noted Disney's reluctance to "attach itself to a team leaving another city." He also said the court order prevented him from talking with anyone regarding an interim or long-term stadium. On the NFL: "Football cannot survive in cities where a few teams do not have the stadium income to compete with others. ... I don't mind breaking even, but I don't see why I should lose money" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 2/4). START THE BIDDING: With the Rose Bowl, Anaheim, Hollywood Park and the L.A. Coliseum all potential landing spots for the Seahawks, one official with one of those L.A. stadium groups said of Behring, "It looks like he's going to set up shop down here and see what he can get." As for places to train and play, team execs said they have been told that Anaheim and the Rose Bowl "would be their immediate destinations" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/4). ANAHEIM: Anaheim City Manager James Ruth said it is his understanding that the city will begin an "exclusive six-month negotiating period" to win the right to build a new stadium for the Seahawks. According to the L.A. TIMES, city workers gave a "face lift to Rams Park, where the team expects to train. Ruth: "Whatever the legal issues are, that is between the Seahawks and Seattle. We will accommodate the team for the training and transition, then begin working on long-term arrangements." Talks with the Seahawks could "complicate" Anaheim's ongoing negotiations with Disney (Simers & Hernandez, L.A. TIMES, 2/4). CHAVEZ RAVINE: Dodgers President Peter O'Malley, who met with NFL execs as recently as Monday, said they would move ahead on their study on building a football stadium on Dodger-owned land: "I continue to believe that the ideal way to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles is to introduce an expansion team at the grand opening of a dynamic and fan-friendly football stadium" (L.A. TIMES, 2/3). DISNEY: If Behring moves to L.A., "league insiders expect Walt Disney Co. to become a minority partner." While Ovitz had favored an El Segundo stadium and worked for Behring while at CAA, a Disney spokesperson said a scenario whereby Ovitz himself becomes a minority partner in the team is "absolutely untrue" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 2/3). HOLLYWOOD PARK: Race track owner R.D. Hubbard, who has plans for a 65,000-seat stadium, said Friday, "As soon as the team and the league are able to negotiate, we will be at the table" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/3). L.A. COLISEUM: Coliseum officials noted the Seahawks could play there "immediately -- and would be welcomed, even if their stay would only be temporary." L.A. City Council President John Ferraro, Chair of the Coliseum Commission, said the Coliseum would still need luxury boxes and other revenue enhancers to lure a long-term tenant, but he noted short-term advantages over the Rose Bowl -- location, a new scoreboard, better restrooms, and the fact that city council approval is not necessary (Hubler & Leeds, L.A. TIMES, 2/3). PASADENA: The "early betting" is on the Rose Bowl as an interim home, according to the L.A. TIMES. Potential problems, however, include scheduling conflicts with L.A.'s new MLS team, neighborhood traffic concerns, a locally-imposed 12-event limit, and debate over $22.5M in stadium renovations. Al Moses, President of the non-profit company that manages the Rose Bowl: "If they call, we'll talk" (Hubler & Leeds, L.A. TIMES, 2/3).