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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Friday in his State of the League address said that he "will advocate for a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players that would help return professional football to Southern California," according to Vincent Bonsignore of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Goodell said that L.A. "plays a prominent role in the outcome" of the CBA negotiations. Goodell: "We have to get the collective bargaining agreement addressed in such a way as to make it so that is a smart investment that can be financed so that we can create the kind of economic activity in Los Angeles that I believe can happen, if we're successful, whether it be downtown or out at the City of Industry." Goodell's comments came three days after AEG announced a $700-900M naming-rights deal with Farmers Insurance for a proposed downtown L.A. stadium, and Goodell said that the deal is a "significant step." Goodell: "I think it's an obvious, a positive development because it's an important revenue stream. But even with that positive development, the financing of the stadium in Los Angeles is still a very difficult proposition." Goodell stressed that the league "can help ... but will need collaboration and cooperation from the players and owners as they negotiate their next labor agreement" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/5). ESPN DALLAS' Tim MacMahon noted "other prominent NFL figures expressed optimism this week that Los Angeles would land a franchise soon." Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said of the Farmers deal, "To me that is a major indication of the viability of a franchise in Los Angeles. That's significant money no matter who you are, so I think that is a big plus." Steelers President Art Rooney II: "Hopefully we'll get another one back there by at least 2016." But Goodell said that he "does not want any of the NFL's 32 franchises to change locations" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 2/4).
ON THE CHARGERS: In San Diego, Nick Canepa noted Goodell touched on the "Chargers stadium situation," and he "basically exercised caution when discussing the recent Los Angeles dog-and-pony show" announcing the Farmers deal. Goodell: "The Chargers have been committed to getting a solution for their stadium in San Diego for, I believe, well over eight years now. They've spent an extraordinary amount of time and resources to try and develop those solutions and they still continue to this day. We want to keep teams where they are. They want the Chargers to be in San Diego, and so does the NFL. But we need to find a solution to the stadium issue in San Diego." Chargers President Dean Spanos: "I don't know how many times I have to say it. It's been very consistent. We continue to work on getting something done in downtown San Diego. The Los Angeles issue is theirs, not mine. My focus is in San Diego, and it has its challenges. But L.A. also has its challenges. It's in California. ... I do know we're closer to the end of this process than we are the beginning. We haven't given up, not by any means." Goodell cautioned the financing of an L.A. stadium is a "very difficult proposition." Goodell: "There are some great opportunities, but we have to recognize that cost is associated with that and address it in a way that incentivizes everyone to make those kind of investments." Canepa wrote, "It's good to see Goodell was not overly moved by the typical Hollywood glitz that offered far more promise than substance" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/5).
CALIFORNIA QUESTIONS: In S.F., Matier & Ross reported California Gov. Jerry Brown's "plan to wipe out redevelopment agencies might be the kiss of death for Santa Clara's proposed 49ers stadium -- and also for hopes of building new homes for either the Raiders or A's in Oakland." Santa Clara officials have said that they "agreed to contribute up to $42 million in redevelopment money as part of the Niners' $937 million stadium deal." Santa Clara acting Assistant City Manager Carol McCarthy said losing that money would be "devastating." McCarthy added that it is "still unclear whether either Santa Clara or the 49ers could find the $42 million from other sources" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6). In S.F., John Diaz noted the 49ers "claim they have the approvals in place to lock in those funds," and Gov. Brown has said that his plan "would not affect existing debt or agreements." The implications "could be more serious in Oakland and San Diego, which have more ambitious yet less-advanced visions of using new stadiums to attract retail and commercial development in areas that would otherwise sit fallow or blighted" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6).
Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski is "far from losing hope" on his concept for an NFL stadium in City of Industry, Calif., "even though his competition in downtown Los Angeles has landed a record-setting deal for naming rights -- and the quiet favor of many NFL owners and executives," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. Roski "still thinks his plan is the best option to bring the NFL back to the L.A. area." He said that he "has no intention of ever throwing his weight behind the competing project, proposed for a site next to Staples Center." Roski: "I don't believe in it. I don't believe that's where it should be. I think we should play football where there's a football place, where we can have an event." However, Roski yesterday "repeatedly stressed his entire focus is bringing football back to L.A.," and said that he "would not participate in or fund any lawsuit that would attempt to block a deal downtown." Farmer noted while Roski "watched the Super Bowl from the Cowboys Stadium stands," AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, whose company is behind the proposed downtown L.A. stadium, "sat in the suite of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones." Leiweke said he had "great conversations with owners over the weekend, and they think" AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and the company "can pull this off." Leiweke: "So game on." AEG and Farmers Insurance last week "announced the biggest naming-rights deal in history, a 30-year agreement thought to be worth" $700M, but Roski said, "Do you really think there's a problem getting naming rights in Los Angeles? That's simple. That's the easiest part of the deal. Why would you want to do it until you're ready to go? You don't need it" (L.A. TIMES, 2/7). Roski said that the NFL "has not expressed a preference for one site or the other to him." But Majestic Realty VP John Semcken said that "some in the league have expressed concern about the name of the city," as the word industry "conjures up images of smoke stacks and factories." Semcken: "We like the City of Industry, but we have gotten input from people back East saying if we could … change the name of the city" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 2/6).
UNDER REVIEW: An L.A. TIMES editorial stated you should "hand it to Tim Leiweke and AEG," as the press conference announcing the naming-rights deal with Farmers showed that they "know how to whip up support for a project." But "for city and state lawmakers, this is a moment to perform their duty, not to be so swept up by the glamour of this proposal that they give away the store" (L.A. TIMES, 2/6). In L.A., Steve Lopez wrote it is "possible" that a downtown stadium "could work out beautifully for Los Angeles, but it's not without risks" (L.A. TIMES, 2/6). Also in L.A., Cathleen Decker wondered, "Is the city taking advantage of a great opportunity or just being taken?" (L.A. TIMES, 2/6).
A crowd of over 2,000 fans gathered Saturday to “celebrate the groundbreaking” for the MLS Dynamo’s new downtown Houston stadium, according to Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Dynamo co-Owners Gabriel Brener and Oscar de la Hoya, club President Chris Canetti, MLS President Mark Abbott, AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, Houston City Council member James Rodriguez and County Judge Ed Emmett were in attendance, along with "most of the Dynamo coaching staff and players." More than 500 "orange hard hats were passed out," and Dynamo F Brian Ching “drove a front-end loader before county and city officials joined team and MLS executives and the players for the symbolic dig.” De la Hoya at the event “promised to bring world-class boxing events to the stadium” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/6). The stadium is the first downtown soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., and MLSSOCCER.com’s Darrell Lovell wrote the "prime location" will place the Dynamo "in the heart of ... Houston’s sports landscape, where they’ll be neighbors" to the Rockets and Astros. Houston Mayor Anise Parker said, “It will make a really dynamic triangle with the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, and now the new Dynamo stadium -- with the George R. Brown Convention Center right in the middle of the action” (MLSSOCCER.com, 2/6).
DYNAMO'S GOLDEN BOY: The CHRONICLE's Ortiz noted De la Hoya “made it clear to Rodriguez that he is adamant about bringing world-class boxing cards to the Dynamo's new stadium.” The Dynamo “will be wise to cross-promote boxing matches with Dynamo games.” Ortiz wrote of de la Hoya, “There's no denying his marketing savvy.” Now that the Dynamo “will get their new stadium next year, the Golden Boy could surely help expand his team's fan base by making the rounds pitching his product, just as he has in boxing” (CHRON.com, 2/6).