Today esteemed sports business reporter Jon Weinbach of AOL FANHOUSE has plenty of new, specific information about a proposed downtown Los Angeles stadium that could host an NFL team. Or two.
(Where the downtown L.A. Stadium would be located)
As I’ve chronicled here since April, Anschutz Entertainment Group CEO Tim Leiweke and local sports biz mogul Casey Wasserman have indicated publicly that they are interesting in building such a facility.
I suggest you read Weinbach’s entire piece but I did snip some things that caught my eye that have not been previously reported.
Weinbach: Recently sent architects a “request for proposal” to design the venue, which would be built on a parcel that includes a large section of the city’s existing convention center. AEG’s plan, which calls for opening the stadium by the summer of 2015, would raze the west end of the convention center and replace it with a 72,00-seat stadium featuring a retractable dome and 218 luxury suites.
Weinbach: David Israel, Peter Ueberroth’s chief of staff for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a member of the Coliseum Commission, which oversees the historic L.A. Coliseum, USC football’s home, has seen multiple stadium efforts rise and fall in L.A. over the last 15 years, but believes AEG’s proposal has legitimate promise. “This is the closest L.A. has been since the Raiders and Rams left,” said Israel.
Weinbach: Alex Spanos, who became the club’s majority owner in 1984, is now 87 years old and reportedly in poor health. He and his wife now own 36 percent of the club, while each of his four children have 15 percent stakes, and they have hired Goldman Sachs to sell a minority share in the team.Representatives from Goldman have met recently with several wealthy individuals in L.A. about the Chargers’ stake, according to people familiar with the matter. (The team, founded by hotel mogul Conrad Hilton, actually came into existence as the Los Angeles Chargers and played its inaugural 1960 season at the L.A. Coliseum. Hilton moved the club to San Diego the following year.)
Weinbach: Mark Fabiani, who has been leading the Chargers’ efforts to develop a new stadium, told FanHouse that the Spanos family is looking to sell a stake in the team solely for “estate-planning purposes.”Greg Carey, a managing director at Goldman and its point man on stadium and sports deals, confirmed that the company is working with the Chargers but has not been retained by the NFL or AEG to find partners for a potential L.A. ownership group
Weinbach: Between February 1 and April 30 of every year from now through 2020, the Chargers can get out of their lease by writing a check to the city of San Diego – this year, the amount is about $26 million, and it decreases annually.
Of particular interest to me are the latter points regarding San Diego.
Especially when combined with this story from Matthew T. Hall of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE this week:
Much to my delight, I discovered that the former Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, apparently has a column for the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. His latest piece reminds me of the golden age of journalism, when Larry King’s “King’s Things” made USA Today the must-read powerhouse of the printed word that it is today.
(Villaraigosa lobbied dementia-suffering Spanos about Bolts-to-L.A.?)
The crazy thing is, Brown doesn’t just cover Frisco. He covers all! Excerpt:
Here’s a scoop. The San Diego Chargers are looking to move to Los Angeles.
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his people were at the Chargers playoff game last week, and they were being extremely solicitous of team owner Alex Spanos.
Yeah, you read that right. Alex Spanos. One problem though, Alex Spanos, sadly, recently revealed he has dementia, and has essentially removed himself from public life.
So was Brown wrong in his reportage? If you know Villaraigosa like we know Villaraigoisa in this town, not necessarily. Read more…