L.A. Panel Wants Assurances On Costs Of AEG's Proposed Downtown NFL Stadium
A panel of experts appointed by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday that AEG's proposed NFL stadium in downtown L.A. "must include assurances that a 'financially sound entity' will stand behind the developer's pledge that the plan will impose no financial burden on the city," according to Rich Connell of the L.A. TIMES. That goal was "included in a series of items that a blue ribbon commission selected by ... Villaraigosa promised to focus on in the coming months as it evaluates the $1.4-billion plan for a stadium, new exhibit hall and parking on city-owned Los Angeles Convention Center land." Under AEG's initial proposal to the city, L.A. Event Center "would be the one committed to covering any shortfall in tax revenues needed to repay $350 million in city borrowing for the Convention Center work." First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, the blue ribbon panel's co-Chair, said, "We're looking to make sure the AEG vehicle that stands behind all of this is financially sound." In a statement, the panel said the stadium/event center "has the potential to transform Los Angeles," but it should only be approved "if we are certain it can be completed without taxpayer funds, traffic impacts are mitigated and the promised jobs go to Angelinos" (LATIMES.com, 4/1).
FACING OFF: In California, Scott Reid wrote AEG's "pursuit of an NFL franchise to play in a $1 billion downtown Los Angeles stadium has touched off a potentially multi-billion dollar arms race" with Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski, who is "backing a stadium project in the City of Industry." It is a battle between "two of the region's richest and most influential men," AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and Roski, "billionaire business partners turned bitter rivals who share little common ground beyond a belief that the NFL is on its way back to the Los Angeles-Orange County market after a more than 15-year absence, possibly as early as the 2012 season." But NFL and stadium consultants, economists, sports business analysts, legislators, current and former government and NFL officials "who have studied both projects argue in a series of recent interviews that the NFL's return to Southern California is far from the certainty AEG and Roski's Majestic Realty group present it to be." Both groups face "significant political, financial, logistical and public relations obstacles." Perhaps the "biggest hurdle for both projects will be convincing the NFL to return to a region that has both fascinated and frustrated the league for parts of three decades" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/2).
VIKINGS STADIUM LACKS SUPPORT: In Minneapolis, Duchschere & Von Sternberg reported top city and Hennepin County officials "expressed skepticism Friday about the details of a long-awaited" Vikings stadium bill "emerging at the Legislature." Viewed as "two important potential local partners on a new Vikings stadium," officials in both the city and county said that the bill "wasn't structured in a way that would allow them to participate." Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said the bill is "badly timed" and "badly designed." McLaughlin: "I hope it comes to a bad end. I wouldn't even start talking to the Vikings until they bring half a billion dollars to the table" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/2).