Today the Los Angeles Times published an article noting that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), my former employer, headed by billionaire Phil Anschutz, was looking for someone to buy out the rights to their Los Angeles based sport properties. Included in this are the Los Angeles Kings of the currently locked out National Hockey League (NHL), the Stapes Center where the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers play (NBA), as well as the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLB). This move came as a surprise to me, as AEG had long been working towards building a football stadium in Los Angeles in order to attract a National Football League (NFL) team. As the plans have stalled several times and have moved forward and backward several times, it could be that AEG has finally decided to give up on the project, and abandon all their other Los Angeles projects as well.
At the same time, this is not the first time that AEG has sold off sport properties. The company was one of the main investors along with Lamar Hunt to help get the MLS started in the 1990’s. AEG once held the three major market teams in the MLS, the Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Galaxy and New York/New Jersey Metrostars. Since then they sold of the Chicago Fire, as well as the Metrostars. The Metrostars were purchased by Red Bull for a price reported around $100 million, which many thought was a great deal for AEG to sell off an MLS franchise at such a high price. Now it seems that AEG is moving away from the MLS and is selling off a lot of their sport properties. Additionally, it could be a combination of getting out of soccer while they can, selling off a franchise from a locked out league, and the LA football stadium problems that has pushed them in this direction.
In either case, if AEG does sell of the properties it will be a major change in the LA sports landscape.