Chargers, Rams First To New, Empty LA Stadium?

Eight months ago I suggested that AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and L.A.-based sports biz mogul Casey Wasserman had plans to build a downtown L.A. football stadium without the benefit of a pre-commitment from an NFL team to move into the facility.

Los Angeles NFL Stadium Map

(Where the L.A. NFL Stadium would be located)


So what has to happen for the project to get done? While some may think that an NFL team pre-committing to such a venue would be critical to the process, I’m not so sure.

… I don’t think its an impossibility that a domed stadium in downtown L.A. could get done without an NFL team initially. And when it comes to the Chargers, you can bet that if an L.A. stadium is suddenly available, San Diego’s hand on a new stadium will be forced. 

Friday during a radio interview, Leiweke confirmed exactly that prospect. Read more…

Anschutz, AEG Will Not Pay For LA NFL Stadium

Last April I cited reports from Sam Farmer the L.A. TIMES and Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK that sports business power player AEG and prominent sports agent Casey Wasserman were working on a plan to bring a retractable domed stadium to Los Angeles.

AEG's Tim Leiweke leading plan for $1B downtown L.A. NFL Stadium

(AEG’s Leiweke Charged With Raising Private Financing, Public Funds)

Details of the plan, which calls for an 80,000-seat stadium to replace the oldest portion of the L.A. Convention Center, are still murky. So in the past week I’ve polled sources about the project to get a feel for just how realistic the idea is.

While we already know that the cost of the stadium will exceed $1 billion, I’ve been told the overall cost of such an undertaking would be at least double that initial price tag. Perhaps triple. (If the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center is razed, it would have to be somehow replaced. Then there’s what will surely be massive infrastructure costs.)

With the enormous financial resources needed for such a project, AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke is reportedly already looking to where costs could be significantly contained. Once such possible discount led AEG representatives to recently meet with members of the California State Assembly and Senate.

From David Haldane of the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL last month:

There are persistent rumors that AEG is seeking more than just general support, but an exemption from California Environmental Quality Act. The act could require the company to undertake a costly and lengthy study on the potential traffic, pollution and other effects of building a large stadium downtown.

In response, the LABJ reported that AEG spokesman Michael Rothasserted that the firm is not actively seeking an exemption from CEQA.” Though Roth did not make that assertion on the record, the inclusion of the word “active” does not rule out the possibility that AEG will seek such consideration in the future.

On that subject, L.A. downtown stadium backers may soon find if they will indeed be able to recoup millions from exempted environmental impact studies. An announcement could come when the state’s budget is finalized - which is currently being negotiated. Coincidentally, the current overseer of that California state budget, Assembly Speaker John Perez, also happens to represent the district where the L.A. stadium would be built.

How convenient!

While the avoidance of the California Environmental Quality Act would be a nice boost for the AEG/Wasserman L.A. downtown stadium plan, early December could bring even better news. Read more…

Unique LA Stadium Deal May Cost SD Its Chargers

In the aftermath of the news of the first legitimate Los Angeles NFL stadium plan in eight years, I’ve freshened up my investigation into what team is most likely to move to L.A. if the project happens. With all signs pointing south.

Los Angeles Chargers 2010

(San Diego: Nothing Personal)

There’s two critical things you need to know about the L.A. situation as it pertains to what current NFL team will end up here.

1) The guys who are leading the charge for the L.A. facility, Tim Leiweke of AEG and Casey Wasserman, have every intention of getting the facility built with or without an existing commit from an NFL team. And unlike what outsiders might think, these guys absolutely have the capacity and staying power, thanks to local political clout and financial resources, to get that done.

2) In talking to several San Diego-based media and political sources today, I’ve been told that the financial state of the city and county is in such disrepair that barring a miracle, there will be no new stadium for the Chargers.

The “miracle” would involve a facility erected with zero public funds. If the Chargers were serious about making that happen, the process would’ve started long ago.

It’s undisputed that the the main reason the NFL is not in Los Angeles is the old guard of NFL owners, who for so long have been accustomed to raping cities for new, free stadiums, has been unable to secure a similar, ridiculously lopsided deal in L.A.

With this new, downtown Los Angeles stadium bid, that is not going to change.

But what if the stadium gets built without the NFL’s involvement? That, my friends, is L.A.’s secret weapon in this case. Read more…

New LA NFL Stadium Plan: $1B Retractable Roof

Yesterday I gushed about a possible NFL stadium plan being assembled by Los Angeles sports business stalwarts Tim Leiweke and Casey Wasserman. That was before any on the record details emerged about what AEG president Leiweke and Wasserman actually were thinking about the project.

AEG's Tim Leiweke leading plan for $1B downtown L.A. NFL Stadium

(AEG’s Leiweke has already remade downtown L.A.)

Now we know the plan.

Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES reports Saturday that Leiweke and Wasserman envision what could be a privately-financed $1 billion downtown Los Angeles retractable-roofed stadium that could house up to two NFL teams along with events like the Final Four, the NFL Draft and combine, political conventions and serve as the flagship venue for an American 2022 World Cup.

For most cities, that’d seem like an unrealistic undertaking. But based on the resources and political capital Leiweke and Wasserman already avail, I believe there’s a damn good chance it’ll happen. Read more…