Yesterday, the city council unanimously approved a $1.5 billion deal to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. Anschutz Entertainment Group, the development giant that gave us L.A. Live and the Staples Center, now has the go-ahead on its ambitious plan to revamp the L.A. Convention Center into a world-class event facility – and hopefully luring an NFL team to town with its new 72,000 seat stadium. L.A. hasn’t had an NFL team since the Raiders left in 1995, and AEG’s Tim Lieweke says the city’s decision “sends a very strong message to the NFL owners” that L.A. is serious about football. Under the agreement, the city will issue $275 million in bonds to jump-start the project, giving AEG the freedom to start wooing a team. Supporters of the project say it will provide 20,000 jobs, over 6000 of them permanent, and bring millions in tax revenues to the cash-strapped city. Meanwhile, developers of a competing stadium project in City of Industry aren’t throwing in the towel – they’re going ahead with their plan, which if approved, they believe, will best the downtown stadium in revenue. Does this deal mean greener pastures, or a white elephant? With a shiny, new sandbox to play in, will NFL owners take the bait? What’s your fantasy home team – the L.A. Giants? The L.A. Broncos? The L.A. Cowboys?
Shelly Smith, Reporter for ESPN
Carol Schatz, President and CEO of the Central City Association