December 2 may have been the day any chance of NFL football in downtown Los Angeles died.
(San Diego? You can exhale now)
That was the day FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, scuttling a concerted U.S. bid to host the tournament. One of the American bid’s primary backers was billionaire Phil Anschutz. Anschutz is the founder of the sports and entertainment company AEG, which built the Staples Center and the new L.A. Live downtown development.
(No NFL in LA? Blame Qatar)
In addition to his current L.A. business interests, Anschutz also happens to be one of soccer’s biggest proponents in the United States. Had the U.S. secured the 2022 World Cup, Anschutz was said to be more enthusiastic about pledging his personal, financial support to a newly-proposed Los Angeles downtown stadium fronted by AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and local sports business mogul Casey Wasserman.
That stadium in turn would’ve hosted 2022 World Cup games, including perhaps the final.
So in the aftermath of the Qatar announcement, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that AEG’s Leiweke, who since April has been subtle in his public pronouncements about the project, today issued a somewhat startling ultimatum to AEG’s possible stadium partners. Read more…