AEG: ‘Our Last Billion For LA .. Take It Or Leave it’

If Los Angeles is going to get a stadium that can house an NFL team, it needs three things:

LA Downtown Stadium map

1) The unmitigated financial backing of billionaire Phil Anschutz
2) State political support
3) The Chargers

At the moment, the financial support of AEG founder Anschutz for an L.A. Stadium is not yet a certainty, though AEG CEO Tim Leiweke has told two prominent California state politicians behind closed doors that his boss will fork over as much as $1 billion if they help facilitate AEG’s stadium deal for the city.

In a meeting with Speaker of the California Assembly John Perez, whose district happens to include where the proposed downtown stadium would be built, AEG Chief Leiweke told Perez three things: Read more…

Report: USC Ponders Buying The L.A. Coliseum

Longtime USC sports reporter Garry Paskwietz of breaks the news late Tuesday that USC is contemplating buying the L.A. Coliseum, the L.A. Sports Arena and nearby parking lots.

L.A. Coliseum

(Coliseum is a few miles south of downtown L.A.)

The stadium is jointly owned by the State of California, Los Angeles County, and the City of Los Angeles. (There’s a recipe for efficiency.) The Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, a collection of local government agencies, oversees the operation of the facility of which USC is the anchor tenant.

So why would USC want to buy two ancient structures on what most wouldn’t consider prime real estate?

Paskwietz: Read more…

Public Money For NFL LA Stadium Not Pipe Dream

Sam Farmer of the LOS ANGELES TIMES has comments from AEG’s Tim Leiweke in Los Angeles Thursday that go a long way to illuminating how Leiweke and downtown L.A. stadium partner Casey Wasserman plan to pitch the public for money for the proposed project.

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

(Tim Leiweke is leading L.A. NFL Stadium Project, a baller)

As I’ve previously reported, AEG, which was integral to building Staples Center, has no plans to include a significant amount of its own money in the building of a downtown, multi-billion dollar stadium that would be the centerpiece of an expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

So if AEG isn’t going to spend its own money on a stadium that could lure an NFL team back to L.A., how do they plan to raise the money for the construction of the project? Read more…

NFL Return To LA Hinges On 2022 World Cup Bid

Three months ago I strongly suggested that soccer could play a major role in whether the NFL returns to Los Angeles some time this decade. In the past week, there’s been new developments that only serve to confirm that notion.

World Cup 2022 Bid Committee

(Anschutz, Leiweke (above) and Wasserman: Pitching own LA stadium deal)

Until today, the United States had been bidding to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Friday morning the U.S. World Cup Bid Committee announced that it is no longer targeting 2018 and instead will focus all of its efforts on 2022 - a year in which the U.S. is regarded as a favorite to obtain event.

Billionaire Philip Anschutz and AEG entertainment company President Tim Leiweke are influential members of that U.S. World Cup Bid Committee. They also happen to be the men who, along with Southern California real estate magnate Ed Roski, were prime movers in getting L.A.’s Staples Center built. More recently, Anschutz and Leiweke were behind the newly-opened downtown L.A. Live entertainment and shopping district.

Anschutz may be the highest-profile proponent of soccer in the United States, having essentially owned half of MLS in the past as a founding partner of the fledging league.

Now it’s Anschutz’s aim to bring the World Cup back to the U.S. in 2022 in a bid that Leiweke and L.A.-based sports business tycoon Casey Wasserman - who is also on the World Cup Bid Committee - hope will provide the political support to unlock funds necessary for a downtown Los Angeles retractable-roof stadium.

As front men for the deal, Leiweke and Wasserman first went public of their intention to lead the charge for a downtown L.A. stadium in April. They’ve since reiterated that desire in public on a few occasions, though curiously not over-emphasizing the issue’s elephant in the room: World Cup soccer.

In August I reported Anschutz, Leiweke and AEG had no plans for a large financial stake in the downtown L.A. stadium project. Instead, the facility plan would rely on other private investment and public funds.

At this moment, the prospect of raising public or private funds in Los Angeles for your next laundry load - let alone a multi-billion dollar downtown L.A. stadium project - isn’t laughable, it’s hysterical.

That’s where the World Cup comes in.

If the U.S. does secure the soccer tournament in 2022, it’s safe bet that Leiweke and Wasserman will use that fact to gain consideration from politicians, the public and private equity in an attempt to set the stage for raising funds for the downtown L.A. stadium.

Remember when I said that Leiweke and Wasserman hadn’t been publicly trumpeting World Cup soccer as being inexorably connected to a new downtown L.A. stadium? (Which could also house an NFL team.)

In the past week, we found out why. Read more…

Lakers Tickets Helping Broker NFL Stadium Deal?

Last month, along with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Sam Farmer of the LOS ANGELES TIMES, I reported on an intriguing new downtown Los Angeles NFL stadium plan in the works. The proposed $1 billion retractable roofed facility would be financed and built by Tim Leiweke-fronted AEG and Casey Wasserman - both serious Los Angeles sports power brokers.

Lakers Tickets Given To L.A. Mayor In Exchange For Help On NFL Stadium Deal?

My instincts at the time told me the downtown plan had a very serious chance of succeeding. Now thanks to a FOX 11 newscast this week and a recent L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL poll, it appears my initial reax was on track.

Early this month the L.A. Business Journal ran a poll asking readers which potential L.A. NFL stadium site they preferred: The proposed new downtown site or Ed Roski’s longtime City of Industry location 25 miles east of the city center. While the Biz Journal normally gets around 100 votes for its online polls, the stadium debate elicited nearly 30,000 responses.

Alfred Lee of the LABJ noted the poll results last week:

Downtown received about 45 percent of the vote; City of Industry, 40 percent. However, 15 percent said they didn’t want a football team at all. The votes appeared to be individually cast, although multiple votes were allowed early in the process, according to the Business Journal’s tech team.

Why so many votes? Lee reports that Roski and the Leiweke-Wasserman camp each initiated email campaigns to try to pump up polling support for their sides. Though from my perspective, had Roski not pushed his people to vote in the poll, the downtown location would’ve likely won in a landslide. (15 percent who voted for no NFL team? So that explains the recent carpal tunnel outbreak in the USC football office.)

While the LABJ poll is a sign of the seriousness and popularity of the downtown Los Angeles NFL Stadium bid, a local L.A. news report Wednesday perhaps gives an even clearer indication that AEG is now actively greasing the local political machinery to facilitate the project.

Read more…

Finally! All Of The Pieces In Place For NFL-To-LA

If you asked me yesterday afternoon what the chances of an NFL team moving to L.A. were in the next five years, I’d have told you zero. I’ve contended from the very beginning that the City of Industry stadium bid by Ed Roski will never happen, and there’s been nothing in recent months to suggest otherwise.

NFL Stadiums in Los Angeles Comparison

(1201 Figueroa St.: NFL’s newest address?)

But last night here in Los Angeles something happened that makes me think we will indeed have NFL football here in the next five years. Maybe sooner. Read more…

Goodell To LA NFL Guys: ‘We’re Just Not Into You’

Yesterday Roger Goodell obliterated the L.A. NFL bid by Majestic Realty’s Ed Roski and John Semcken with one seemingly innocuous, though telling statement:

NFL Wannabes Ed Roski Jr.

“The key issue is the challenges of financing a facility in this environment with the labor agreement that we have. The cost of building that stadium is almost entirely on the ownership and that is a big burden to pay in this type of environment.”

Why is that statement by Goodell a clear indication that the NFL has no intention of partnering with Roski and Semcken? Because before Goodell said that, he already knew that Roski and Semcken were more than capable of financing the deal privately with their own money.

To drive that point home, Semcken told the PASADENA STAR NEWS after Goodell’s statement:We have zero concern about our ability to finance the building. We know what the numbers are and we know how we are going to do it.“ 

Read more…

Farce: Kiffin ‘Recruiting’ Chow To Take Own Job?

UPDATE (7:43pm ET): Norm Chow tells Fox Sports Radio Thursday that he never talked to any USC representative about a job with the school. He added that Lane Kiffin left him one voicemail.

During the interview on the Petros & Money Show, Chow said he never seriously entertained leaving UCLA for USC because he never received an offer.

Quite a spirited recruiting effort by Kiffin.

As I wrote earlier today, Lane Kiffin has made it clear that he “anticipates” running the USC offense now that he’s been gifted the head coaching position by USC Trustees and Jerry Buss.

Mike Garrett

(Garrett expects Kiffin to ‘recruit’ Chow to take job Kiffin himself wants)

Figurehead Athletic Director Mike Garrett though does provide some comedy gold on the subject of Norm Chow in his interview with Gary Klein of the LOS ANGELES TIMES today.

Klein: How did Norm Chow enter into this? Was that you suggesting it? Was it Lane suggesting it?
Garrett: It was my idea. I said, you know, it would be nice if we brought that whole staff back and I don’t think Lane was against that. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

Klein: So you’re looking forward to . . .
Garrett: Well, it’s a possibility. It still has to happen and we’ll see.

Klein: Are you a part of that process in terms of a negotiating process?
Garrett: No, it’s really Lane’s deal. He’s going to recruit him and see how it works out.

If you read SbB you already know that Garrett isn’t involved in anything, so the fact that he’s claiming that the Chow recruitment is up to Kiffin, and not the real guys in charge, USC Trustees Ed Roski and Pat Haden, is no surprise.

You also know that if Chow does cross the street from UCLA, it will be despite Kiffin, not because of him.

Kiffin is the last person USC power brokers like Roski and Haden would ask to “recruit” Chow. The process involves doubling (at least) Chow’s salary into the mid-$1Ms range and forcing Kiffin to take his former colleague.

Though Chow’s agent Don Yee has denied that his client is jumping ship, along with UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel, we’ve yet to hear from Chow himself. No one would be surprised if Yee and Neuheisel end up being wrong and Chow does take a position with USC. But if he does leave UCLA, we know it’ll have nothing to do with Kiffin’s “recruitment.”

Besides Garrett’s farcical comments about Chow, Klein unearths one other gem from SC’s fake AD.

Read more…

Why USC Was Left No Choice But To Take Kiffin

Knowing NCAA sanctions are likely looming for USC and that Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron were prominent members of the Trojans staff during the time some of those possible violations occurred, to outsiders it must look insane that USC hired Kiffin as head coach yesterday.

Ed Orgeron Lane Kiffin

(Orgeron was already on board as Kiffin caught last plane out)

But in the context of the coaching search USC completed before hiring Kiffin, the Trojans had no choice but to hire a guy almost universally despised not only in Knoxville, but inside USC’s Heritage Hall.

To clarify the hire, understand that USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett was only tangentially involved in the process. The primary movers in getting the deal done were search committee members Ed Roski, Pat Haden and Lakers Owner Jerry Buss.

Jerry Buss Ed Roski Pat Haden

(USC Coach Search Committee: Buss, Roski, Haden)

Roski and Haden are also members of the USC Board of Trustees, with Roski the Chair. Roski is also the guy fronting L.A.’s bid to bring the NFL back. Buss is a prominent USC booster. I only last night found out that the Lakers Owner was involved in the coaching hire.

Read more…

Haden, Roski Making Final Call On Trojans Coach

Sources familiar with the USC Board of Trustees and the Trojans coaching situation told me today that USC Board of Trustee members Pat Haden and Ed Roski are leading the search for USC’s next football coach.

Ed Roski and Pat Haden will make call on USC football coach

Trustee Chair Roski is a billionaire real estate developer who also is the leading figure in the push to bring the NFL back to L.A. and Haden is a former USC and NFL QB, current football announcer and prominent local businessman.

Yesterday I reported that USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s decision-making power at the school had diminished recently and that Garrett was likely to “retire” at the same time USC School President Steven Sample does in August.

The past month, I’ve been told that members of the USC Board of Trustees were considering approaching Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay about succeeding Garrett. Perhaps not coincidentally, McKay signed a five-year contract extension with the Falcons just two weeks ago. The deal is worth $15M.

There’s been additional rumors that Haden was in the running to take over as USC Athletic Director. A USC administration source told me today those rumors are false.

Read more…