Now that the NFL lockout is over, with a new collective bargaining agreement in place and players ready to take the field for training camps almost immediately, all eyes in Los Angeles will turn toward … downtown.
In a city without a football team the end of the lockout means the resumption of hope, that a major deal to build a stadium in downtown L.A. (as well as a competing proposal to put a stadium in the City of Industry) is back on track. In fact, the succession of events on AEG’s proposal to build Farmers Field downtown, right next to the Staples Center, will move at an accelerated pace over the next week and the L.A. City Council could be voting on a stadium deal by next Friday.
L.A. city councilman Paul Krekorian said the council's first priority is protecting the taxpayers of Los Angeles.
"We can't put general revenue funds at risk to help support bringing football or any sports center to Los Angeles," Krekorian said.
An AEG-sponsored report that came out on Wednesday estimated that a $1 billion stadium and a new wing of the Convention Center would generate $22 million annually for the city.
Other proposed benefits of a new stadium include a revived economy and the opportunity for employment - from construction to stadium operations.
"It could very well turn out that this project is a job creator. But we shouldn't assume that," Krekorian said.
Meanwhile both AEG and the City Council are repeating promises and demands, respectively, that no taxpayer money goes into the construction of the stadium, although the details of any potential deal are largely unknown. A debate in front of the full City Council is scheduled for July 29 and Farmers Field itself, if all goes according to plan, would open in 2016. Could the end of the NFL lockout mark the beginning of the return of football in L.A.?
Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Councilman representing the 2nd District