The push for professional football in Los Angeles has been getting some more solid backing in the last month. Early in December it was reported that Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic Johnson was putting together the money to try to put up a bid to bring a professional sport franchise to Los Angeles. It was even noted that Magic sold all 100 Starbucks franchises which he owned, bringing in what is estimated to be around $100 million to the money he had already been raising.
The lack of a National Football League (NFL) team in Los Angeles since Al Davis moved the Raiders north to Oakland in the mid-1990’s (where he would be right next to another team, the San Francisco 49ers). The Raiders had trouble selling out their 90,000 seat stadium (the Coliseum) at that time, and thus games were subject to blackout in the Los Angeles area. It was because of this that Al Davis felt the need to move to Oakland. In more recent years, Los Angeles has been something that teams in the NFL wanting new stadiums have used over and over as their way to get funding for the stadium. Simply put, having no team in Los Angeles allowed teams to threaten to move to LA unless local governments built nice new stadiums for them. The city of Los Angeles itself has had many talks and discussions about bringing in a new team, and the discussion has always lead to whether teams should use the Coliseum, or build a new stadium.
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is helping to push things forward as they have now announced three finalists for designs of a football stadium for LA. The stadium would be built on the lot next to the Staples Center (also owned by AEG), and is thought to be a big push towards bringing a team to the city. I can see some issues with this though. AEG is taking a bit of a gamble if they go ahead and build a stadium without knowing for sure that they are bringing a team to LA. Already AEG has spent money on the Sprint Center in Kansas City in the hopes of attracting a National Basketball Association (NBA) team to KC, yet the building still sits there without a professional franchise playing there. While they have been able to host conventions, concerts, and a few college basketball games and NBA exhibitions, there is no future guarantee of a permanent tenant. A football stadium in LA could be an even bigger disaster. Events and concerts are already held at the Staples Center, and thus a new football stadium may not have as many events and concerts as the Sprint Center does. Additionally, the lack of a permanent tenant in a football stadium in one of the largest markets in the country after spending an estimated $1 billion on such a project could be a problem.
Also, AEG isn’t the only one trying to build this stadium, Ed Roski, a LA Real Estate developer has gone to the city claiming that he could build a stadium for cheaper within the city. It seems that there is a race between AEG and Mr. Roski, yet this could be a losing battle for whichever side wins, especially if they have to help foot the bill for an empty stadium.
You can click here to see the three finalists that AEG has chosen.