Bad news, maybe, from the NFL regarding L.A. City Hall's downtown stadium dreams.
Reporting from the NFL's Los Angeles committee meeting, CBS Sports cites sources who say Dodger Stadium actually appears to be the No. 1 site for an NFL team in L.A.
The proposal to build a $1.5 billion stadium and Convention Center upgrade next to Staples Center might be too complicated for some in the NFL:
The company pitching the deal, Anschutz Entertainment Group, is now for sale for as much as $10 billion.
While AEG has stated that the move would have no effect on its plans to build this thing, NFL owners might have a different take.
… Several league sources expressed doubt that the would-be buyers of AEG — the entertainment giant is for sale and could fetch upwards of $10 billion — would be willing to pour massive amounts of money into the downtown project, as the current deal for prospective funding required AEG to do. A change of ownership at AEG could also lead to a more viable agreement at that site, some inside the effort to build in Los Angeles suggested, though there remain significant issues regarding parking and infrastructure in this area.
The folks at Majestic Realty, involved in the development of Staples Center, have long-standing plans to build an NFL stadium in Industry, a project they have said is “shovel-ready” and just waiting for the NFL to give them a team or two.
There's even the prospect of such a stadium in Carson, where Home Depot Center hosts concerts and Major League Soccer's Galaxy, of David Beckham fame.
But strangely, the NFL folks seemed to have the biggest hard-on for old-hat — Dodger Stadium.
While the venue is the third-oldest in baseball and isn't built for football, the property it sits on is vast and well-centered. CBS Sports says one NFL suit called it “the preferred choice” for NFL's return to L.A.
League commissioner Roger Goodell himself said it was a “terrific site” (and that's a huge endorsement for a man and a league that sometimes speaks in code about these things).
CBS Sports mentions something rarely spoken around here — the prospect that the Dodgers would go downtown to make way for the NFL at Chavez Ravine:
Areas around Dodger Stadium, where parking and space is abundant, are highly desirable to the league, sources said, and discussions in that regard are ongoing. This site has not received the national attention of others, but is very logical, particularly if the Dodgers were to move downtown.
Anyway, despite the rush job by the L.A. City Council and AEG to get the downtown plans approved, no NFL team, it seems, is coming to the City of Angels until at least 2014.
An expert told KNX 1070 Newsradio this morning that the league is in no hurry:
L.A. has served as a bargaining chip for owners in their respective markets. They have something to point to — the nation's second largest metropolis without a team for nearly two decades — to use as a threat to get what they want. And that's usually new venues, on the taxpayer dime.