SBD/February 7, 2011/Facilities

Roski Undaunted In Belief City Of Industry Is Best Site For NFL In L.A.

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).
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