SBD/March 30, 2012/Facilities

AEG Chair Anschutz Not Changing Terms To Bring NFL Back To L.A.

Anschutz was reportedly told by Goodell his terms are unacceptable to NFL
AEG Chair Phil Anschutz “continues to show no interest in changing the terms of a deal” that would return the NFL to downtown L.A. more than “three months after a clandestine meeting" between Anschutz, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, according to Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS. That lack of interest “means that plans for a downtown stadium to be built and run” by AEG may be “all but dead in the eyes of many involved.” AEG is “supposed to unveil an Environment Impact Report on the site in early April.” But that report “may be worth little more than the paper it’s printed on if Anschutz and AEG don’t make a shift in the financial plan that’s been presented to NFL officials.” Sources said that the four men “met in Denver on the weekend of Dec. 18.” Villaraigosa “requested the meeting in hopes of encouraging Anschutz, who lives in Denver, to put more support behind the stadium AEG has proposed building.” Goodell at the meeting “politely told Anschutz that the terms are unacceptable to the NFL and any of the handful of teams that have been targeted for a potential move to Los Angeles.” Kraft attended the meeting “because he is also very close to Anschutz and does business with AEG,” and he reportedly “echoed Goodell’s remarks.” A source said, “It was friendly, but boiled down to the view that no NFL owner would accept the terms proposed. … If they were willing to back off the control and buy a (limited partnership) stake for a reasonable price, then a shared interest in selling suites/clubs/sponsorships could be worked out.” But sources said that the meeting with Anschutz “has thus far produced zero reaction from the billionaire” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/29).

NEW PLAYERS IN THE GAME? In L.A., Sam Farmer wonders if the Guggenheim Baseball Management group paying $2.15B for the Dodgers “will explore the idea of plunging into the stadium derby” by proposing to build an NFL stadium at Chavez Ravine. But even if there is “ample land for another stadium and parking” on the Dodger Stadium site, it could “take years to untangle the traffic, neighborhood, entitlement, environmental and political issues involved with such a proposal.” Still, there is “one big change” since the days of former Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley's “concept 15 years ago: The Coliseum is out of the game now that USC has the right of first refusal on the NFL.” As a result, there can be “an honest competition in the city, rather than politicians' being obligated to back that crumbling venue” (L.A. TIMES, 3/30).
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