SBD/Issue 176/Facilities & Venues

Is L.A. Nothing More Than A Pawn For NFL Teams Seeking Stadium?

Writer Believes NFL Uses L.A. As A Threat To
Other NFL Communities Looking For A Bargain

Though the NFL "says it really wants to be back in the Los Angeles market, it finds it quite advantageous" to leave the market open, making it a "permanent threat to every other NFL community that dares to think about driving a hard bargain with its pro team," according to the L.A. TIMES' Michael Hiltzik, who writes under the header, "Southern California Shouldn't Play Ball With The NFL." The NFL over the years "has played Anaheim off against Los Angeles, and both off against Carson." Hiltzik wrote the league also has "expressed" interest in the Rose Bowl, the Coliseum and Hollywood Park as locations for a stadium, and has "promised that L.A. would certainly have a team by '2009, 2010 or 2000-whenever,' in the words of former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue." Hiltzik: "Everyone in Southern California who has tried to play ball with this league has come away misused and humiliated" (L.A. TIMES, 5/23).

A GROWING DIVIDE? In L.A., Daniel Miller notes Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski has “campaigned hard the last two years” to build an NFL stadium outside L.A., and now he “finds himself in the middle of a billionaires’ tussle.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke and WMG Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman recently “floated plans to build a downtown L.A. football stadium next to Staples Center, the arena” that Roski and AEG Chair Phil Anschutz partnered to build more than 10 years ago. Roski remains a partner in Staples Center, owned primarily by AEG, and he also partners with the company in the Lakers, “though Roski is said to have a smaller ownership stake” than AEG. Several friends of Anschutz and Roski “declined to comment on the record, but sources said their partnership is not what it once was.” Some observers believe that “for both men to be competing for the same prize can only mean one thing.” Miller: “Not only have the two grown distant, but a full-fledged rift has developed” (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/24 issue). Meanwhile, also in L.A., Sam Farmer notes while the subject of L.A. is "not expected to be a significant part" of the NFL owners meetings this week, it is "entirely possible that owners will get a briefing on the competing stadium concepts" (L.A. TIMES, 5/25).

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