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Volume 24 No. 112


L.A. Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller yesterday said that an NFL team "would have to commit to remaining in a proposed downtown Los Angeles stadium for 20 to 30 years for the city to approve the project," according to Rich Connell of the L.A. TIMES. Miller told the L.A. City Council that the city "will seek 'hard-and-fast agreements' that a pro football franchise would not leave" AEG's proposed Farmers Field "until city debt related to the project is repaid." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis, "who has worked on many NFL stadium projects," yesterday said that "securing a long-term commitment from a prospective Los Angeles team is possible." But he added it "won't be simple." Ganis said that complications include the L.A. area's "poor record with NFL teams, the lack of a major public subsidy for the stadium and the fact that the team may not also own the stadium." Connell notes negotiations on a "preliminary stadium agreement are expected to take about three months." Miller made his comments yesterday at the "first meeting of a special council committee charged with reviewing the stadium plan." L.A. Council member Bill Rosendahl "signaled that he may press for even more city revenue, including a share of the reported $700 million in naming rights AEG has already sold to Farmers Insurance." L.A. Council member Tony Cardenas said that the city also "needs to scrutinize AEG's proposals to control additional advertising signage around the stadium," including at the neighboring Convention Center (L.A. TIMES, 4/19).

THE BIGGER, THE BETTER: The AP's Jacob Adelman noted AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke has said that the company "may ask the city for a contract to manage the entire convention center site, which would bring some 100,000 contiguous acres of downtown Los Angeles, including the AEG-owned Staples Center indoor arena and the LA Live complex, under the company's management." L.A. Council member Jan Perry said that AEG's proposed convention center configuration was "preferable to the one envisioned by the 2001 deal that nestled the expansion within LA Live." But she added that the city "should not surrender rights to the parcel ahead of schedule unless AEG offers a commensurate tangible benefit in return as part of negotiations" (AP, 4/18).

Toronto FC yesterday unveiled plans for their new academy and training facility in Downsview Park, a 14-acre complex that will serve as the primary practice, training and development center for the MLS club and its academy teams. Team Owner MLSE will invest more than C$17.5M to build the facility, and pay an annual rent to Downsview for use of the government-owned property (THE DAILY). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier notes construction crews are "scheduled to break ground on the complex in early May, with the project slated to open in April 2012." MLSE Exec VP/Venues & Entertainment Bob Hunter said, "We hope to create the soccer epicenter of Canada." The project is "being funded entirely by MLSE, which signed a 20-year lease with the Canadian government to use the site." Hunter said MLSE has begun the search for a "significant title sponsor" for the facility. Dreier notes the complex will "become the permanent home of Toronto FC’s management offices, although business operations will remain at BMO Field." The facility includes four outdoor grass fields, one turf field, a "field house that houses team offices, workout facilities and training rooms, and five locker rooms" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/18 issue). MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi said that the "idea is to give TFC the same type of training complex top overseas clubs use." Before finalizing plans for the facility, MLSE "consulted teams in England, Holland, and Mexico" (TORONTO STAR, 4/19). Anselmi said, "This will compare globally. We've looked at Ajax, we've looked at Chelsea, we've looked at Pachuca (in Mexico). ... We've looked at all the best and this will be right up there. It's going to be world-class, it's going to rival anything you'll see in Europe" (CP, 4/18).