SBD/February 1, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Wasserman Quietly Leads Push To Bring NFL Back To Downtown L.A.

Wasserman gained experience running an L.A. sports franchise with the AFL Avengers
If the NFL "ever does return" to L.A., WMG Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN "will likely be involved," according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. Fans "won't find Wasserman at many news conferences" for the downtown L.A. stadium that he is teaming with AEG to build, nor will they "read many stories of him promoting the virtues of the venue." Fans "won't see or hear much from Wasserman until he feels there is something to be seen or heard." His 10-year run as Owner of the now-defunct AFL L.A. Avengers "was like getting a doctorate in sports management." No one else "currently positioning themselves to be involved with Los Angeles' next NFL team has hired and fired a head football coach, named an expansion team and designed football uniforms as Wasserman did with the Avengers." Wasserman said, "I operated a professional football team in L.A. By no means was it the NFL, but I understand what it takes on some level to build and operate a professional sports enterprise in Los Angeles." Wasserman, who became "fast friends" with NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL more than 25 years ago, brought the idea to build an NFL stadium near Staples Center to AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE, who was "not only intrigued by the location and the business it could create for L.A. Live and, most importantly, AEG's newly built hotels and residences across the street, but by the retractable roof." Wasserman: "Putting it where there's already an infrastructure is a huge advantage and putting a roof on it and connecting it to the convention center is the other way. Those two things make the economics of this idea unique relative to other ideas presented in L.A. and therefore give this a better chance of success." Leiweke "jumped at the chance to build a football stadium with Wasserman" in '02, and he is "willing to go to bat with him again now." Leiweke said, "He's well respected, he's well liked, he's well connected and he's experienced. I've never heard anyone say anything bad about Casey" (ESPNLA.com, 1/31).
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