This week backers of a downtown NFL stadium will roll out a $27 million environmental impact report that will undoubtedly tell us how good this venue will be for Planet Angeles.
Fair enough, but a new report over the weekend casts some doubt on the grand designs of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the LA Live developer that wants to build this 72,000-seater for more than $1.2 billion.
Yahoo! Sports says the whole deal to build “Farmers Field” is dead unless …
… AEG changes its proposal to the NFL.
The report says that the company's plan to buy a minority stake in a team — a deal similar to its interest in the Lakers, which plays at AEG's Staples Center — wouldn't cut it with the league. (For a good summary about why the NFL doesn't apparently like that deal, read this).
And because AEG hasn't reportedly submitted another proposal to the NFL in at least three months, the prospect of bringing a team to downtown L.A. might be dead.
In fact, Yahoo! Sports says, the gulf between what the league and AEG wants is so large that some stadium boosters at City Hall are already looking at life without a stadium.
They're reportedly considering how to redevelop the aging West Hall without the help of AEG, which had vowed to expand the meeting hall as part of its installation of a football venue there.
The bottom line is that because of that, politicians in Los Angeles may be shifting focus from the stadium project to simply enlarging the Los Angeles Convention Center. The stadium was supposed to be built on part of where the center currently sits and would serve as convention space when not being used for the NFL.
Complicating things was a report in the Los Angeles Times last week indicating that Magic Johnson's team of investors that just took over the Dodgers might want to build … an NFL stadium next door to Dodger Stadium.
Johnson is also a backer of AEG's downtown stadium dreams. Complicated?
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, meanwhile, is sounding like he's the only guy in town who wants a stadium downtown, telling the Orange County Register (repeatedly), in response to queries about AEG owner Phil Anschutz's commitment to bringing a team to town, “I'm working hard to bring an NFL team to LA.”
On top of all that, AEG over the weekend seems to be changing its tune on how much it would be willing to invest in a team.
AEG chief Tim Leiweke told the Times' T.J. Simers this on Sunday:
Phil has committed a billion dollars privately to build a stadium and is prepared to spend another chunk if he has to buy the majority of a team. You can publicly state that. He's prepared to be a majority owner if that's what it takes.
So is Farmers Field back on the map? We wouldn't count it out just yet.