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SBD/September 12, 2011/Facilities
AEG Scores Big Win For Farmers Field As California Senate Passes Bill
Published September 12, 2011
TOUCHDOWN FOR AEG: In L.A., McGreevy & York noted AEG and "myriad backers pushed hard for approval." The developer "enlisted fans to send more than 39,000 emails to legislators," and unions "held a sit-in at the office of one Long Beach senator who had hesitated to support the bill" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10). Leiweke said on Friday, "We now have complete predictability. It's no longer a question of getting it done; we can get it done. And now it's very evident to the NFL and its owners." AEG Chair Phil Anschutz will help fund construction of Farmers Field, and Leiweke said, "A lot of owners understand there's only one place in the United States where one guy has stepped up and offered to pay $1 billion for a new stadium. They don't have to write a check." Leiweke said that AEG "will not negotiate a long-term lease or place a team in the position of providing notification of an impending move until after the Super Bowl." But after Friday's ruling, Leiweke said, "Phil's impressed. I know he thinks this will be interesting in these economic times, but he looks at the world as more of a marathon than a sprint." Leiweke, who noted that he "will meet very soon" with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, also indicated that AEG "will begin selling suites with the understanding an agreement must be reached with a team to move" to L.A. He added that his company "will also start lining up founding partners" to join naming-rights sponsor Farmers Insurance (L.A. TIMES, 9/10).
CUTTING SOME RED TAPE: In San Diego, Michael Gardner reported the legislation approved Friday also "could speed up expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and construction of a possible Chargers stadium downtown." The bill will tighten "deadlines for legal challenges to large public works projects, a move meant to encourage jobs and news projects and avoid delays." The proposed convention center expansion "may qualify, as could any future new stadium for the Chargers." But sites and plans for both "would have to be ready by Jan. 1, 2015" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 9/10).