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SBD/August 22, 2011/FacilitiesPrint All
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that L.A. Memorial Coliseum "would be in play as a temporary home for a relocated NFL team only if it was USC -- and not the Coliseum Commission -- that cut the deal," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. AEG has discussed an NFL team playing at the facility while Farmers Field is under construction, and Leiweke said, "There is no way the Coliseum works for us in its current situation, whether a team is playing there for one year or four years. There is no way economically we are the engine that drives a renovation." Part of AEG's tentative agreement with the city of L.A. calls for the firm to "make its best effort to use the Coliseum, rather than housing" the NFL team at the Rose Bowl. Leiweke: "There is no question in my mind that if USC has the ability to run that building, we'd be able to make a deal with USC." But L.A. City Council member Bernard Parks said that AEG "cannot force the commission to the sideline just because it prefers to deal with USC." Meanwhile, Leiweke also "responded sharply to a recent comment" by Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani that it "would require a 'miracle' for AEG to break ground on a stadium project by next year." Leiweke said, "I think the problem with the Chargers is, (Fabiani) can sit here and talk about all the things we need to go through, but the last time I checked, they've been doing it for 10 years and they're nowhere. And the difference between us and them is we've got a guy willing to write a check for a billion. They've got zero financing, zero entitlements, zero design, zero deal with the city, and zero property that ultimately is not contaminated. Good luck." The Chargers have been mentioned as a possible tenant for Farmers Field, but Farmer reported AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and Chargers President Dean Spanos are "far apart on how much of the team would be sold and for what price." Leiweke: "We haven't talked to the Chargers in a while" (L.A. TIMES, 8/21).
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: A Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE editorial stated California legislators last week were "quietly exploring ways to protect a proposed football stadium from legal obstacles." AEG "worries that 'frivolous lawsuits' under the state's environmental laws might tie up the project for years, and wants the Legislature to head off that prospect." No one "has introduced legislation yet, but just why the Legislature should intervene at all is not clear." The editorial continued, "Legislators should drop any plans to exempt a football stadium project from lawsuits. If legislators believe such legal challenges abuse state law, they should fix the rules for everyone -- and not just for those with money and political pull" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 8/20).
An NHL spokesperson confirmed that Nets CEO Brett Yormark and Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner "met with NHL officials at the league office in Manhattan recently." On Long Island, Katie Strang noted the Brooklyn arena "arose as an attractive option" for the Islanders after Nassau Coliseum voters rejected a financing plan to build a new Nassau Coliseum. An NHL source defined the meeting as "very general and conceptual in nature." Earlier this month, Yormark indicated that Barclays Center "was a viable option for the team" (NEWSDAY.com, 8/19).
SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM: On Long Island, Neil Best reports the second season at New Meadowlands Stadium began last night "with changes" after the facility opened in '10 "to mixed reviews from football fans." Most prominent among the changes "is a nearly 50 percent rise in the number of men's room urinals, primarily on the upper 300 level, where long halftime lines were a persistent problem" last season. Another complaint had been "backups on escalators that made it difficult to exit quickly," and NMS CEO Mark Lamping said that "permanent signage will direct fans to underutilized stairwells, which should help." Fans also "will be permitted to walk around the north end of the stadium, which was closed to pedestrians last season to keep them away from the service entrance" (NEWSDAY, 8/22).
NO OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: The BBC's David Bond reports an "independent investigation has upheld the decision to award" the London Olympic Stadium to English soccer club West Ham following the '12 Games. The inquiry "came after allegations that a director of the Olympic Park Legacy Company was paid by West Ham during the contest" with EPL club Tottenham Hotspur. But forensic accountants from Moore Stephens "decided that was not relevant to West Ham being named tenants." Still, Tottenham officials "want a judicial review and, despite having their first request rejected, are due to present evidence again at an oral hearing at the High Court on Wednesday" (BBC.co.uk, 8/22).
WALK DOWN THE ROAD: New Queens Park Rangers Owner Tony Fernandes "has admitted that the club's long-term future lies away from their cramped Loftus Road stadium, which has the smallest capacity (18,682) of any" EPL facility. QPR has played at Loftus Road for nearly 95 years, but Fernandes said, "It's early days but of course it would be great to get a bigger stadium and that's certainly in my mind" (London INDEPENDENT, 8/22).