SBD/January 28, 2011/Facilities

Majestic VP Predicts NFL Team Will Be Playing In L.A. By Sept. '12

Majestic VP predicts City of Industry stadium could host Super Bowl in '16
Majestic Realty VP John Semcken Wednesday predicted that an NFL team "will be playing in Los Angeles by September 2012," according to Mike Sprague of the SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE. Semcken said that work will begin on Majestic's proposed 75,000-seat, $800M stadium in the City of Industry "when they attract a team." Semcken: "There's a chance that a team will come this September. It's not a good one. (But) there's a 100 percent chance that in September 2012 a team will play here. ... Then, in September 2014, we'll move into the new building and then in 2016 we'll host the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl." He added that the "delaying factor in acquiring a team right now is the NFL's potential labor issues with its players." Semcken said that he "isn't concerned" about AEG's proposal for a downtown L.A. complex, "in part because they are asking for the city to float $350 million in bonds that would be paid back with revenue from its stadium." He said that he "doesn't think the city of Los Angeles will approve public money for the stadium" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 1/28). But in Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes after visiting with AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, "you get the impression the stadium will not only be built, but will attract an NFL team." Leiweke said that he and Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf "are friends." Leiweke: "Zygi came down and looked at L.A. Live. I think Zygi really wants to figure this out in Minnesota. I personally think he will. ... We would prefer and hope that he solves his problem there and that still leaves us with another half-dozen teams that, I think, (are not) going to solve their problem in their current local marketplace." Leiweke added of AEG's proposed stadium, "We're not going to be up and ready until 2015. It would mean that if a team moved here early, they're going to have to play at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum. Both of those work short-term, they don't work long-term" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/28).

NO FOREGONE CONCLUSION: ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi wrote the problem facing an NFL stadium in L.A. is that "virtually every new sports venue in the country includes some form of public financing, which is almost impossible to achieve in California." Former California Gov. Gray Davis: "Even in boon times, Californians are very suspect of allocating public money to build a stadium. In bad times, it's simply impossible. The state has a tradition of not spending public money on stadiums or arenas. For example, 1999 and 2000 were good years in California and even in those good times there was no appetite in spending public money." Markazi wrote the "biggest misconception when discussing Los Angeles' attractiveness as a market is thinking every NFL owner would salivate at the prospect of having a team in the second biggest media market in the country and the entertainment capital of the world." That is "simply not the case in the NFL's egalitarian model, in which all national revenues are equally divided among the 32 teams." In the NFL, the "amount of money a team can generate from its stadium with as little risk as possible is what NFL owners are after." If they "can get their state, city or county to completely subsidize the stadium while giving 100 percent of the revenue to the owner, as is the case in many NFL cities, that's the best possible deal." That "would never happen in Los Angeles." Also, the "age-old belief that the NFL needs Los Angeles more than Los Angeles needs the NFL has been debunked over the years." The league's TV contracts "went from $900 million per year when they had to two teams in Los Angeles to $3.1 billion per year with no teams in the market," and that figure is "expected to double after the current contract runs out following the 2013 season." Still, Davis said of the NFL's return to L.A., "I think it will happen someday. Whether it happens in my lifetime or your lifetime, I don't know, but I think one day it will happen" (ESPNLA.com, 1/27). ESPN L.A.'s Markazi broke down AEG's proposal for an NFL stadium in L.A. (ESPNLA.com, 1/27).
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