View Full Version : LA Mayor to meet with NFL to talk about bringing a team to the Coliseum

05-01-2006, 12:35 AM

Villaraigosa grabs ball on NFL deal
Mayor to head to Dallas to make 11th-hour bid to gain pro team

Taking the lead in the battle to return pro football to Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday that he will go to Dallas next week and try to close the deal with the NFL on locating a team at the Memorial Coliseum.
The mayor made the announcement after a tour of the historic Coliseum, where the NFL has proposed spending $800 million for renovations to host a team - and possibly two franchises at some point in the future.

"Los Angeles is a great sports town," Villaraigosa said at a news conference held at the peristyle end of the Coliseum.

"We have a great fan base that supports its teams. We have a great historic facility that has hosted two Olympic Games. We have the second-largest media market in the United States."

An 11-member committee of National Football League owners is to meet Monday and Tuesday to hear presentations from Los Angeles, Anaheim and Pasadena on locating a team in their cities.

The committee is scheduled to submit a recommendation to the owners of all 32 franchises when they meet May 21 in Denver.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Tuesday that he expects the owners to make a decision at either their May meeting or at another set for October.

"We're at a defining moment," Tagliabue said during an appearance in Anaheim. "It's time to make a decision - whether it's up or down. The owners are making a decision and it's their investment. It's their vote."

No professional football has been played at the Coliseum since 1995, when the Raiders returned to Oakland.

Villaraigosa said a renovated Coliseum also could host such major events as the Super Bowl, the World Cup and another Olympic Games.

Under the plans, the Coliseum's exterior would remain but the inside would be gutted and refurbished to accommodate 67,000 fans.

New features also would include 200 luxury boxes and 15,000 club seats, with overall seating that could be expanded to accommodate 80,000 spectators for USC games.

"We are at a time in our history where we can make a sound and persuasive case for the Coliseum and why the NFL needs to be here," Villaraigosa said.

Coliseum Commissioner David Israel, who is part of the presentation committee, said he believes NFL owners will be responsive to Los Angeles' offer.

"Our commission is looking forward to bringing our case to these owners," Israel said. "Many of them have recently built stadiums and we see that as an advantage for our situation."

Commissioner Bill Chadwick said it is up to Los Angeles officials to make their case and show a united front in seeking a team.

In addition to the renovations proposed for the Coliseum, Villaraigosa cited other lures - including revitalization efforts downtown that include development of the $1.5 billion l.a. live entertainment-residential complex across from Staples Center.

"The amazing diversity of this community and its reach around the country



and the world bodes well for the NFL and its future," Villaraigosa said.

In the bid for a team, Anaheim and Pasadena officials also will be heading to Dallas next week.

Pasadena - which has been divided over the use of the Rose Bowl for more football games beyond those played by UCLA - is sending Councilman Chris Holden.

He did not return phone calls Tuesday, but Holden faces a tough sell because much would depend on voter approval of a ballot measure on whether to allow more events.

The disparity was noted by one observer of the local effort to win back professional football.

"Los Angeles is using all the political muscle it can to win back football," said the official, who asked not to be identified. "That's what Los Angeles has going for it and it's not afraid to use it."

Last year, Tagliabue all but told the Los Angeles City Council that the Coliseum was the front-runner for an NFL team.

But during a meeting Tuesday with Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and about 100 business leaders, Tagliabue said that city is still in serious contention.

"For me, the critical point is that this is a serious endeavor for us," Tagliabue said. "I always read that `the commissioner is going here' and `the commissioner is going there and putting pressure on this person and that person to do X, Y, Z.'

"Yes, competition is fine. Competitive negotiations are better than noncompetitive negotiations. (But) we're not going to create a phony competition or (say) an opportunity is real when it's not."

Tagliabue said he believes owners already are sold on Anaheim.

"Our owners know that a team (in Anaheim) can be successful," Tagliabue said.

Tagliabue recounted how the teams complemented one another when the Rams were in Anaheim and the Raiders were in L.A. He also noted that an expansion team would be a good fit for the city.

Still, he said he expects owners will have questions about Anaheim's economy and quality of life.

And while Pasadena officials will also make a presentation in Dallas next week, it will be smaller than those by Anaheim and Los Angeles.

"I think it was a courtesy and recognition that we've worked with them for the last several years," Tagliabue said of Pasadena's plans for a presentation.

Ohio Steeler
05-01-2006, 04:39 AM
ok who do you guys think the team will be that gets moved to LA, I still think it will be the chargers or saints

05-01-2006, 05:35 PM
Chargers fans will soon be singing

nah nah nah nah...nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey goodbye to their franchise in San Diego.


05-01-2006, 05:37 PM
The Chargers will never leave San Diego once they fall in love with "Dan Fouts reincarnated" Phillip Rivers.

Um...errr...yeah, it's be the LA Chargers.

05-01-2006, 10:21 PM
No one is going to LA. Football teams don't leave "great sports towns". What team is going to look at what they have and call LA better? Tom Benson is a San Antonio man and if it's not SA, he's not moving.

3 to be 4
05-01-2006, 11:13 PM
I once bought a used car at Benson Auto when i lived in SAn Antonio. lets just say it accelerated my move 6 months later to the Green Line and Boston.

tony hipchest
05-01-2006, 11:36 PM
I once bought a used car at Benson Auto when i lived in SAn Antonio. lets just say it accelerated my move 6 months later to the Green Line and Boston.
what is it with san antonio and used car salesman/football franchise owners?

Ohio Steeler
05-02-2006, 10:17 AM
This is from espn.com

Chargers may look for new home in San Diego County

SAN DIEGO -- The City Council unanimously agreed Monday to amend the San Diego Chargers' lease to allow the NFL team to look for a new stadium site within the county.

The action came less than two weeks after Mayor Jerry Sanders said the cash-strapped city doesn't have the money to help Southern California's only NFL team build a new stadium.

If the team fails to strike a deal in the county before Jan. 1, the Chargers would be free to negotiate a deal anywhere in the country.

The Chargers can leave San Diego after the 2008 season if they pay off the approximately $60 million in bonds the city issued in 1997 to expanded Qualcomm Stadium.

"I strongly believe the Chargers are a regional asset," Councilman Kevin Faulconer said. "Today's action is appropriate because it is in the best interest of San Diego's taxpayers."

City Attorney Michael Aguirre said he supports amending the team's lease, but urged caution in dealing with the Chargers.

"I hope this is not part of some charade where they are going to pretend to go out and make some kind of effort in the county and then say, 'Gee, we were not able to do it,' and then come back and ask for some kind of subsidy," Aguirre said.

The Chargers' negotiator, Mark Fabiani, said on April 21 that the smaller cities of Oceanside, Chula Vista, and National City to the north and south of San Diego have approached the team, along with a private investor whose identity Fabiani wouldn't disclose.

"We welcome today's lease amendment, and when that amendment becomes final, we will immediately begin to examine available options in San Diego County," Fabiani said in a statement. "The Chargers are very hopeful that the amendment will result in the building of a new Super Bowl-caliber stadium in San Diego County."

San Diego is facing what the mayor called a financial and a managerial crisis, which includes a $1.4 billion city employee pension fund deficit and federal investigations into city finances.

The Chargers have been in San Diego since 1961, the year after they started playing in Los Angeles under the ownership of hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

Earlier this year, the team dropped its proposal to build a $450 million stadium as part of a commercial development the Qualcomm site because it could not find developers to share the estimated $800 million upfront costs. The team offered to pay for the stadium and traffic improvements, but wanted the city to give it 60 acres for development to recoup its costs.

Last week, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman contacted the Chargers about the possibility of starting talks to relocate to the gambling and entertainment mecca.

Team officials responded that their lease with San Diego bars them from talking with other cities until Jan. 1.