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Fourth and Goal to Go
Almost two decades after the Raiders skipped town, L.A. has two—yes, two—stadium plans in the works. A guide to what the future may hold
If they don’t want us, who needs them? That was the sentiment around Los Angeles in 1995 when the Rams and the Raiders abandoned the area for promises of luxury boxes and improved amenities elsewhere. A city of our stature couldn’t possibly be alone for long. As the nation’s number two media market, we could have any team we wanted, right? We’re the catch. Not so much. In September the NFL began its 17th consecutive year without L.A. The separation finally may be coming to an end—perhaps as soon as next year—with two proposals for privately funded stadiums that are the sort of state-of-the-art facilities the NFL has wanted all along. It took more than a decade for Los Angeles officials to realize they were the problem. Proposals would come and go, but the only plan the city would back amounted to redecorating the Coliseum. The NFL wasn’t buying.
This time, plans for Anschutz Entertainment Group’s Farmers Field and Majestic Realty’s Los Angeles Stadium have been met with assistance at every level of state and local government. Negotiations for L.A.’s next team will heat up after the Super Bowl in February. Construction on either stadium wouldn’t start until an existing franchise owner commits to move, requiring the team to use the Coliseum or Rose Bowl as its new home is built. Who’s put together the best package? NFL owners will get to make the final choice. Here are some of the details in play.
LOS ANGELES STADIUM
Majestic Realty’s strategy to reach 15 million fans in four counties
Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty has been ready to build its $800 million stadium at Grand Crossing (aka the City of Industry) for two years. But like AEG, it won’t break ground until it secures a team, a task made more difficult by NFL labor strife slowing negotiations. While the location, at the 57 and 60 freeways, is a longer drive for West L.A., it’s central for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Roski wants a minority stake in a franchise, giving the team partial ownership of the stadium. A construction estimate of 30 months means a team that commits in February could kick off in the new digs to begin the 2014 season.
Pregame: Open spaces would allow fans to hang out before games.
Green as Grass: With one side built against a hill to save on construction materials, this would be the NFL’s first LEED-certified stadium.
Team Amenities: Practice fields, workout facilities, and team offices would be on-site.
Parking: Outdoor parking would hold 25,000 cars, with bridges between lots so pedestrians wouldn’t have to cross streets or interrupt traffic.
Seating: Along with 75,000 seats and 12,500 club seats, there’d be 176 luxury boxes—tilted forward for better spectating.
AEG’s bid to install the gridiron smack-dab in downtown
Since reintroducing its downtown stadium proposal a year ago, Anschutz Entertainment Group has progressed at a speed rarely seen for such a sizable project in L.A. Led by CEO Tim Leiweke and backed by billionaire Philip Anschutz, AEG received unanimous approval on the $1 billion stadium from the city council. The final obstacle—other than attracting a team—is an environmental impact report AEG will submit in January and hopes to have approved by May; construction would begin in June. The state legislature passed a bill that requires legal challenges to the EIR to be resolved within 175 days. If a team commits this off-season, the stadium would be ready in 2016.
Branding: Farmers Insurance would pay a reported $700 million over 30 years for the naming rights.
Retractable Roof: The ability to cover the stadium would make it a viable convention space that could attract prestigious events such as the NCAA Final Four.
Green as Grass: This would be the NFL’s first LEED-certified stadium, with discounts for fans who arrive via mass transit.
Seating: The design calls for 72,000 seats, 14,500 club seats, and up to 200 luxury suites.
Pre- and Postgame: The parking structures would prevent tailgating; AEG is banking on crowds eating and drinking at its L.A. Live.
The teams most likely to relocate to L.A.
Why: They started in L.A. (1960) and have been pleading for a new stadium.
Why not: A proposed stadium in downtown San Diego could sway them to stay.
Why: They played here for 48 years. Owner Stan Kroenke and Anschutz are longtime friends and business partners.
Why not: St. Louis will offer a plan for an improved stadium by February 1.
Why: The return to Oakland hasn’t been as profitable as owner Al Davis expected.
Why not: They could join the 49ers in a proposed joint stadium in Santa Clara.
Why: The lease to Buffalo’s 1973 stadium expires soon. Owner Ralph Wilson, 93, says the team will be auctioned after he’s gone. Why not: Wilson won’t move the team.
Why: They played a home game in Detroit after the Metrodome’s inflatable roof collapsed last year.
Why not: Minneapolis probably wouldn’t let them go.
Botched attempts to build a new football stadium
1996: Peter O’Malley proposes an NFL stadium beside Dodger Stadium. Mayor Richard Riordan asks him to step aside for the Coliseum.
1998: Former Disney president Michael Ovitz assembles a star-studded ownership, including Magic Johnson, to lobby for a stadium in Carson. A year later he defers to the Coliseum.
1999: A group including Ed Roski and Philip Anschutz proposes renovating the Coliseum to attract an NFL team.
The bid loses to Houston.
2000: Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell tells the L.A. Times that renovating the Coliseum is akin to “trying to put a new dress on an old hooker.”
2002: AEG pitches, then withdraws a plan to build a $450 million stadium after it fails to win city council support.
2005: Citing fears of increased traffic, the Pasadena city council votes 5-1 for the Rose Bowl not to pursue the NFL.
2007: Anaheim decides not to build a football stadium next to Angel Stadium, selling the property to a commercial developer.
Graphics by Remie Geoffroi