SBD/April 20, 2011/Facilities

Leiweke Wants Agreement On Farmers Field By Summer In Order To Show NFL

Tim Leiweke wants a resolution with the L.A. City Council by June or July
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke yesterday said that his company and the L.A. City Council “need to reach an agreement on the Farmers Field project by early summer to show a skeptical NFL that the city is serious about bringing the league back to the nation's second largest market,” according to Scott Reid of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Leiweke: “We keep on asking them to see if we can't come to an understanding by June or July so that we can at least prove to the NFL that you can do business in the city of L.A. The biggest issue the NFL has is they don't believe the city of L.A. will ever get a deal done no matter how good the deal is they're being offered. I don't believe that and I think we will get a deal done." L.A. Council member Jan Perry, Chair of the committee looking at the downtown stadium project, said that it is “unlikely that the city and AEG would finalize a deal by early summer but left open the possibility that the two sides could have an agreement on principle terms on the Farmers Field plan by June.” Leiweke yesterday also said that he “appreciates the concerns of some city officials that an NFL team be locked into a 20- to 30-year lease for the downtown stadium,” and said that he is “confident AEG can get an NFL franchise to agree to a long-term lease.” Leiweke: “We understand that a long-term lease with an NFL team is an important part of this and obviously that's subject to getting a team and we're in the midst of beginning and continuing those conversations.” But he “dismissed city council member Bill Rosendahl's demand that the city receive a significant portion of the stadium project's naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance.” Leiweke also said that AEG “would not be able to act as a guarantor on $350 million in public bonds to pay for replacing the Los Angeles Convention Center's West Hall” because the city will retain ownership of the facility. AEG instead “has proposed using a plan similar to one safeguarding bonds on Staples Center." Leiweke: “That's worked for 12 years at Staples Center and I'm fairly certain that same vision will work well for Farmers Field" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/20).
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