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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AEG Presents Pitch Of NFL Stadium To Los Angeles City Council

As the saying goes "Money Talks"; and AEG Worldwide has plenty of it. Per Lance Pugmire, AEG President Tim Leiweke made his first presentation on construction of an NFL stadium to Los Angeles.

AEG President Tim Leiweke was well received in his first presentation before a Los Angeles City Council committee, telling Chair Janice Hahn of the council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee and Councilman Tom LaBonge of plans to build a possible Super Bowl site capable of being the home to two NFL teams.

"The case to bring a team here is a great case," Hahn said.

After the meeting, Hahn said there was reason to move on the massive project expeditiously.

"We get a better convention center out of this, more hotel rooms, more tourism; that's an increase to our general fund," she said. "We want all hands on deck."

AEG's plans for a privately financed $1-billion, 64,000-seat stadium include the need for $350 million in city-approved bonds, which Leiweke said would be repaid with a seat tax, "the same thing we do at Staples," he said. He said any shortfall will be paid off by AEG.

"We are beginning a process officially today to bring forth a vision that will bring the NFL back to Los Angeles ... a catalyst to the largest downtown development in Los Angeles, with 20,000 to 30,000 jobs created," Leiweke said.

Bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles, one of the biggest media and sports markets in the nation, would be a great thing for the city that already hosts championship caliber basketball and an improved college football scene. Also according to the story, the proposed stadium with be capable of seating 78,000 people for Super Bowls and Final Fours, include a retractable roof and offer more convention center space if necessary:

Authorities who addressed the committee referred to the current convention center as "in need of a major renovation," with one noting Los Angeles ranked 15th among U.S. cities in drawing conventions.

By renovating the convention hall, Leiweke said, a new stadium would provide a massive 1.4 million square feet of contiguous convention space and add 1,400 parking spots.

Being a current resident of the renovated downtown Los Angeles area, of course a huge concern will be one of LA's biggest drawbacks will be traffic, as the commuting area currently includes interchanges to multiple southern California highways (I-10, I-110 and I-101). Per AEG's president:

Leiweke additionally defended traffic concerns, noting AEG studies found that "you could've landed a helicopter on the freeway here" on Sunday mornings when fans would arrive and said AEG will fund improved rail access.

Apparently the NFL has encouraged the endeavor, as a new stadium in Los Angeles will be quite attractive to any teams in need of an upgrade and looking to move into a bigger market. There hasn't been an NFL team in L.A. since the Raiders relocated back to Oakland and the Rams jumped ship to St. Louis in 1995.

AEG currently owns a number of arenas across the country, including the Staples Center, Rose Garden in Portland, Prudential Center in NJ and American Airlines Arena in Miami (home of the Heat). You can check out more of the LA Times story here.

But professional football back in Los Angeles? I'm all for it.


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