L.A. Officials Teaming With AEG Tout Confidence In Bringing NFL Back To City
City and AEG officials gathered yesterday in a downtown L.A. ceremony “to sign off on and celebrate” the Farmers Field project deal, according to Dakota Smith of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Despite the lack of an NFL team, the proposed sale of AEG by its parent company and “another possible lawsuit over the stadium, city officials believe they've shown they have the political commitment to bring” the NFL back to L.A. The city under the agreement will “issue bonds to pay the $314 million cost of the new convention center hall.” The bonds will be “repaid through a variety of means, including a special tax imposed on AEG's stadium and L.A. Live site.” AEG cannot “start construction on the stadium until it has signed a lease with an NFL team.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “praised city negotiators, casually mentioned a recent meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and shrugged off news of a possible second lawsuit pertaining to the stadium.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke “dismissed opponents and expressed confidence that the project will come to fruition.” Leiweke said, "We're going to get a team, and we're going to get this stadium built. We promise." Still, city planners will “continue to refine designs for the public spaces around the convention center and stadium” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/4). In L.A., Catherine Saillant writes the project is “now in the hands of” Leiweke, who is in “private talks with NFL team owners to bring a team to Los Angeles.” Villaraigosa said that he “met with" Goodell in N.Y. on Monday and that those discussions are “going well.” He added AEG is “still on track to announce a team, or possibly two, by March.” Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman, who is “a booster and potential partner" in the project said, "The NFL now knows we are serious about bringing a football team back to Los Angeles” (L.A. TIMES, 10/4).
UNDER REVIEW: In California, Brenda Gazzar notes Rose Bowl neighbors and city parks commissioners on Tuesday “expressed concerns about plans to use Pasadena's historic stadium as a temporary home for the NFL.” A special Parks & Recreation Dept. meeting was “the third public session examining a draft Environmental Impact Report for NFL usage of the stadium.” It is “part of a $400,000 study commissioned by the city this year.” The draft review found that allowing the NFL to use the Rose Bowl "for up to five years would cause air pollution, noise pollution, more traffic and result in less recreational use of the Arroyo [Seco Park] by its neighbors -- especially on game days.” The City Council next month will “meet to vote on the EIR and a proposal increasing the annual number of large events at the stadium from 12 to 25” (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 10/4).