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Gloves come off in L.A. stadium chase

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For several years, it appeared that Ed Roski’s group had the inside track to luring the NFL back to Los Angeles, via a new stadium to be built in the City of Industry.  But the shovel-ready project recently has been buried by momentum accumulating for a downtown venue backed by Tim Leiweke of AEG and Casey Wasserman.

Now, Roski’s group has decided to fight back.

John Semcken, Roski’s right-hand man, tells the Orange County Register that the downtown project is a “pipe dream . . . that is confusing people.”

It gets better.  Semcken, who worked with Leiweke to build Staples Center in L.A., also attacks Leiweke personally.

“Tim’s a bad guy,” Semcken said.  “He can’t build the building.”

Semcken also focused on the merits, arguing that traffic, construction problems, and the costs to make earthquake-proof a retractable roof doom the downtown idea.  “At the end of the day, I don’t know why they’re doing it.  It can’t be done,” Semcken said.  “We can break ground tomorrow.”

Semcken thinks that the NFL has encouraged AEG to produce a plausible proposal, in the hopes of creating competition between the two projects — and thus leverage for the league.

“I think it’s smart what the NFL is doing,” Semcken said.

In our view, it’s not smart what Semcken is doing.  His comments come off as desperate and his attacks on Leiweke as petty.  Our guess is that Semcken knows the ship is sinking, and so he’s firing off as many shots as he can while it goes down.

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46 Responses to “Gloves come off in L.A. stadium chase”
  1. bbb82 says: Dec 11, 2010 10:23 AM

    Why would you need a retractable roof in LA?

  2. PanchoHerreraFanClub says: Dec 11, 2010 10:31 AM

    There will an NFL team in LA when moon comes over the mountain. Prediction, if you under 21 years of age, your great grandchildren will probably get to see an NFL team in LA before their eightieth birthday. Why? There is way too much money being made by NOT having an NFL team in LA.

  3. paulnoga says: Dec 11, 2010 10:48 AM

    The Vikings, Chargers, Jaguars, Bucs, and maybe the Rams and Panthers would love the LA sized fanbase. Maybe there will be two teams in LA like NY. But be careful what you wait for. It is pretty much certain that Personal Seat Licenses will be required like the Jets/Giants.
    For a city that didn’t support the Rams before and hasn’t had that team for 16 years (not counting the disaster of the Raiders), the demand might not be there.

  4. wydok says: Dec 11, 2010 10:52 AM

    I don’t understand the fuss. Los Angeles had NFL teams before, and couldn’t generate enough interest to keep them.

  5. shootermcgavin1 says: Dec 11, 2010 10:59 AM

    C’mon Mike…

    Tagging this with “Bills” and “Jaguars” is pure nonsense, and it’s only a slightly smaller stretch to include the Rams, 49ers, and Raiders.

    If you’re any kind of “insider,” you have to realize at this point that the two most likely teams to move to LA are the Vikes and the Chargers, and that it will probably be both of them.

    Speculation on the Bills and the Jaguars moving is just pure fantasy and trolling for comments — in which case I guess I just gave you what you wanted, didn’t I?

    Well played, but I think it’s way past time to take the Bills — and definitely the poor Jaguars — OFF of these silly “might move to LA lists.” To continue with that is doing a real disservice to your readers, and almost smacks of intentional spreading of misinformation…

  6. joelvis72 says: Dec 11, 2010 11:14 AM

    I’m not too clear on the logistics of both facilities, but it seems a downtown stadium would be a traffic nightmare, and a retractable-roof box. I just like the idea of the Industry stadium better, dug into the hill etc.

  7. monkeesfan says: Dec 11, 2010 11:14 AM

    And you actualluy think this LA Stadium will actually get an NFL team? How many times must it be pointed out that there is NO market for a team there? LA is the worst sports town in the country, and people should not WANT a team there – it’s LA, not a city worth living in or going to.

  8. touchdownroddywhite says: Dec 11, 2010 11:18 AM

    I disagree with your view on his actions completely. He says what the NFL is doing is smart, but he’s calling BS on a downtown stadium at the same time.

    Why wouldn’t the league be interested in creating competition to get the best deal possible on a new stadium? Semcken also raises logical points in regards to the difficulties in building at that location.

    The only place he goes off track, in my opinion, is when he refers to Leiweke as a ‘bad guy’.

  9. responsiblechild says: Dec 11, 2010 11:38 AM

    Al Davis still owns the rights to the LaLa land fans..Ask him…He will sue the NFL if they add a team to the L.A. area..

  10. bkunza says: Dec 11, 2010 11:43 AM

    Why does everybody think LA will support a team? They failed twice already (Rams & Raiders) and those were good teams.

  11. dontouchmyjunk says: Dec 11, 2010 11:51 AM

    I love how people who don’t live here make “observations” about our city that clearly show a lack of understanding about Los Angeles.

    #1 – There is no traffic problem in LA on Sundays. Now, Monday night games would kick off at 5:30 local time, but people would be on the road to the game by mid-afternoon.

    #2 – When the Rams and Raiders were in LA, they played at the most outdated, miserable stadium in the United States — The Coliseum, aka, The Mausoleum. Even so, the last team to actually play in Los Angeles proper, the Raiders, routinely drew 70,000 fans to each game. The problem was that at the time, the Mausoleum had nearly 101,000 seats. So, the stadium looked 1/3rd empty, which it was.

    #3 – A retractable roof would be for the intense autumn heat that we routinely have. As anyone who lives here knows, September is by far the hottest month of the year. It’s our August, with stretches of days at, or near 100 degrees.

    #4 – When the Rams actually played in Los Angeles, in the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s, they were the most popular sports franchise in town. When Georgia Frontiere moved the team to Anaheim, she lost the local fan base almost immediately. Again, Anaheim is NOT Los Angeles. Not physically, not culturally, or geographically.

    #5 – Polls have shown for the last decade that the fan base here is ready and able to support an NFL team, and maybe two. The NFL knows it, and that’s why they’ve been pursuing this issue for some time. The key is the team has to actually be in Los Angeles proper, not Anaheim.

  12. importantpftcomment says: Dec 11, 2010 11:54 AM

    @shootermcgavin1

    You are kidding right? An insider would say that one of the two most likely teams to move are the Vikings? You base this on what? Their record this year? The fact that their lease expires on the dome after next season?

    Sorry, but when you factor in the current non-blackout streak in MN, the rivalry between the Packers/Bears is just two reasons the Vikes will NOT be moving anywhere.

    Any team that has had problems selling out games are the ones with an inside track on moving. That list definitely doesn’t include the Vikings.

    Go back to playing golf with Happy Gilmore!

  13. Robert says: Dec 11, 2010 12:22 PM

    Los Angeles Raiders 2014

  14. cwill32 says: Dec 11, 2010 12:52 PM

    dontouchmyjunk your reply is the only one that makes since and clearly comes from an “informed” perspective. The only thing that I would add as it pertains to the retractable roof is that AEG clearly understands that If you have a dept load on a facility such as the proposed stadium you have to generate much more revenue that what (10) games a year can accomplish. AEG’s model is to maximize events and revenue streams at there site’s (see staples center). To that end the roof is to allow flexibility in staging more than just football events in the building. Dont be suprised if ultimatly (2) teams come to LA and look for an announcement of AEG taking over management of the entire convintion center. As for some of the other comments left on this site they are just flat our ignorent and un-informed. This is a great football time. USC’s attendance numbers alone are a direct result of the vacuume left by having no NFL team in this town not to mention UCLA. Dynamic local ownership is the key (Cassey Waserman & Magic Johnson) will be the face of the new franchise that WILL come to Los Angeles.

  15. odessabucs says: Dec 11, 2010 12:56 PM

    I just don’t see LA as being an attractive market. Businesses are fleeing the state in droves. It has crushing debt, taxes are very high and the public unions have a stranglehold on the politicians and the state.

  16. The Doctor says: Dec 11, 2010 1:01 PM

    Vikings might as well move to LA. Once they put the roof on in Minnesota, the Vikings lost their Nordic Heritage anyway. Inside that dome, they might as well be playing in outer space. What is the difference between Minnesota and LA if we are going to play in a dome.

    The Solution: Build and open air stadium in Minnesota and let the Vikings get back to being Vikings.

  17. sdchargers25 says: Dec 11, 2010 1:03 PM

    LA wont get my Chargers. NO F”IN WAY. Good Luck with that AEG and this Industry City bafoon. Have fun building your stadium and having it empty with no NFL team :)

  18. bucx01 says: Dec 11, 2010 1:05 PM

    Sorry, but when you factor in the current non-blackout streak in MN, the rivalry between the Packers/Bears is just two reasons the Vikes will NOT be moving anywhere.

    Any team that has had problems selling out games are the ones with an inside track on moving. That list definitely doesn’t include the Vikings.
    ————————————————–
    The Vikings are definitely on the short list to move. As there lease end in 2011. without a new stadium they are as good as gone. It is about money and not the fans. Ask Cleveland who sold out every game if they though the Browns would move.

    If the taxes payers pony up the cash they will stay. If not LA will have another team for MN.

    Now don’t get mad, but really if you had to choose between the two cities. LA would win 99% of the time.

  19. giantrobot666 says: Dec 11, 2010 1:25 PM

    How many of you guys actually live in the Los Angeles area? You guys see two teams leave and say we can’t support an NFL team. Stop making assumptions about the fan base in Los Angeles.

    The Rams consistently had good attendance, until near the end of their run in Anaheim. The owner wasn’t putting a good product on the field and we knew the team was moving. Would any of you support a team who takes the money and runs?

    The Raiders was a whole different situation. Their stadium deal was bunk and the City of Los Angeles (as in the government body) had misled the Raiders organization to bring them down from Oakland in the first place. An upside to the Roski project is that it is outside of the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles.

    And don’t get started on how the Chargers started in L.A. That was one season only.

    Southern California is larger than Los Angeles. There are millions of people here. We want NFL football here. We already support two MLB teams, two NBA teams, two NHL teams, two MLS teams, USC, UCLA, WNBA… We can handle an NFL team.

    Los Angeles is too big of a market for an NFL owner to pass up on. This project won’t start construction without the guarantee of a team coming to Los Angeles.

  20. artiesliver says: Dec 11, 2010 1:28 PM

    The NFL 10 years from now.
    Toronto Bills
    LA Raiders (AFC)
    LA Vikings (NFC)
    Minnesota Jaguars
    San Antonio Panthers
    Los Vegas Buccaneers

  21. jimmysee says: Dec 11, 2010 1:31 PM

    I live in LA — downtown stadium is the way to go.

    The traffic issue is a red herring. The site is at the intersection of two major freeways downtown.

    And USC and the Coliseum are close by and have been dealing with the traffic issue for years.

    Can’t see why they need a dome — unless they are planning summer daytime concerts.

    Private money will pay 100% of the cost.

    And SoCal did not lose the Rams and Raiders because of lack of support — another lie. In each case, greed, and a better offer were the twin culprits. Proof: the Raiders STILL to this day have a huge fan base in L.A.!

  22. SpartaChris says: Dec 11, 2010 1:31 PM

    Leiweke’s a douche for robbing the LA tax payers of more than $2 Million to pay for Michael Jackson’s “memorial” whole he turned a profit from the tickets he sold.

    That said, donttouchmyjunk has it right as it relates to putting a team in LA. To further his point, when the Rams moved to Anaheim, they shared a stadium with the California Angels. The stadium was ill suited for football purposes, sharing a closer resemblance to the recent game held at Wrigley Field more than an actual football field. After losing battle after battle with the redevelopment committee over what were promised upgrades to make Anahim Stadium more suitable for football purposes, Georgia Frontiere sought a better deal elsewhere. St. Louis ponied up, and the rest, as we say, is history.

    RE: The Coluseum, having been built in 1922, it was already old when the Raiders first moved in. Somehow they still managed to sell tons of tickets, so this notion that somehow LA won’t support a football stadium is ridiculous.

    RE: The Vikings and their sell outs- Welcome to the Favre effect. I guess we’ll see what next season brings when you have someone else taking the snaps for you.

  23. brewdogg says: Dec 11, 2010 1:36 PM

    #
    bucx01 says: Dec 11, 2010 1:05 PM

    Sorry, but when you factor in the current non-blackout streak in MN, the rivalry between the Packers/Bears is just two reasons the Vikes will NOT be moving anywhere.

    Any team that has had problems selling out games are the ones with an inside track on moving. That list definitely doesn’t include the Vikings.
    ————————————————–
    The Vikings are definitely on the short list to move. As there lease end in 2011. without a new stadium they are as good as gone. It is about money and not the fans. Ask Cleveland who sold out every game if they though the Browns would move.

    If the taxes payers pony up the cash they will stay. If not LA will have another team for MN.

    Now don’t get mad, but really if you had to choose between the two cities. LA would win 99% of the time.
    ————————————————–

    One problem with your theory. When, for example, Cleveland moved, the owner went with them. Zygi Wilf has frequently said that he wouldn’t move the team. If the Vikings do move to LA, it would mean that Wilf sold it to one of the LA groups, so it is not choosing between cities. For the Wilf family, it is choosing between having an NFL team and not having one.

    That being said, I seriously doubt that the Vikings will go anywhere. The stadium deal will get done. There is enough yammering from the lawmakers over the last few years, but I think they were just putting it off until the last minute. They know that Zygi and the NFL don’t want the Vikings to move.

  24. importantpftcomment says: Dec 11, 2010 1:44 PM

    @bucxo1

    Trust me, the Vikings are not going anywhere. Huge difference between Cleveland and the Twin Cities area.

    I’ll trust you on the blackout issue in Cleveland. While I remember the move, I don’t remember all the circumstances surrounding it.

    One thing I have brought up that no one has had a reasonable answer for is the rivalry between the Packers and the Bears. Realistically, games between the Vikes and those teams are some of the highest rated on the NFL. Moving the team would take the Vikes out of the NFC North, at the very least, putting them in the NFC West, switching them with the Rams. One of the options that solves that issue is putting the Rams back in California, which would also keep them where they are now, in the NFC West.

    Something else no one has brought up that I have seen. The Vikings current owners are from the East, Jersey if I remember right. Does anyone really think they will travel to the west coast area 8 or more times a year to watch the Vikings play? Huge difference in traveling between a 1 hour difference in a couple days vs 3 hour difference. I just don’t see that happening…….

  25. thetooloftools says: Dec 11, 2010 1:46 PM

    HEY ! When are people going to realize L.A. won’t support an NFL franchise? You could name them the L.A. Chico’s and pack the place with all the illegals but that won’t pay the bills. L.A. is just not a football town.
    If they put a team in there they should build a small venue so it always sells out, and milk that huge tv market audience all day long.

  26. importantpftcomment says: Dec 11, 2010 1:52 PM

    @SpartaChris

    Hate to tell you, but the Vikings sellouts have gone on LONG before Favre came to MN. Using that theory, even if you count ALL Vikings games last season and this, that would only equal 32. The sellout streak is well on its way to 150 and will definitely go higher!

  27. realitypolice says: Dec 11, 2010 2:03 PM

    onkeesfan says:
    Dec 11, 2010 11:14 AM
    And you actualluy think this LA Stadium will actually get an NFL team? How many times must it be pointed out that there is NO market for a team there? LA is the worst sports town in the country, and people should not WANT a team there – it’s LA, not a city worth living in or going to.
    ====================

    You may be right, but Roger Goodell disagrees with you, and that’s all that matters. Goodell has time and time again expressed his commitment to get a team there. And when was the last time Roger Goodell didn’t get what he wanted?

  28. misterv619 says: Dec 11, 2010 2:10 PM

    Having lived in both San Diego and different parts of LA County, I know LA is the better place to get a stadium done than San Diego. San Diego has been fighting another battle for years over the Mount Soledad Cross. There is now way they get a stadium built in San Diego before Spanos dies.

    Getting into downtown LA is a mess. Once you get there, it is an attractive location with all the development surrounding the Staples Center.

    In my opinion, The City of Industry site is in the sweet spot between LA, Riverside and Orange County and San Diego. All the freeways converge near there.

    Google image search a map of the LA freeway system to see for yourself.
    http://www.inetours.com/Los_Angeles/Images/maps/LA-Arpts-FreWa.gif

    The actual location is at the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeway. You can link dirrectly to the 60 freeway from the 5 and 15 freeways.

    The 57 connects the 210, 71, 10, 60, 91, and the 5 freeway.

    The 605 is another connection option which links to the 210, 10, 5, 105, 91, and 405 freeways.

    Once you’re in the San Gabriel Valley, there are also surface street options leading into and out of The City of Industry.

    Being a lifelong fan, I prefer them to stay in San Diego. Being realistic about a potential move, it serves more people’s interest if they were locate in City of Industry.

  29. SpartaChris says: Dec 11, 2010 2:12 PM

    150? Well ok, I guess. I mean, technically having a corporation purchase any remaining tickets so you’re right. That still doesn’t make my statement about Favre helping you sell tickets any less true. Last season was the first season in a long time where the Vikings didn’t face the possibility of a blackout even once. This year is year two. Prior to that, it was common for locals businesses to purchase the remaining tickets in an effort to keep the game on TV, including your first home playoff game in 8 years. Coincidence? Maybe.

  30. importantpftcomment says: Dec 11, 2010 2:24 PM

    @SpartaChris

    The only team I can say with certainty that hasn’t had corporate or team buyouts (and it pains me to say this) is the Packers. There could be others, but that is the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

    I also suspect that there are teams that either have an agreement in place with a company to purchase tickets behind the scenes before a blackout is a possibility. No proof of it, just that I believe it happens.

    I don’t disagree that Favre helped sell tickets, hell, *IF* we can get a marquee QB next year, he will help as well. I also deny that there were buyouts of tickets, but the fact still remains that the games were sold out.

  31. bkunza says: Dec 11, 2010 2:24 PM

    #4 – When the Rams actually played in Los Angeles, in the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s, they were the most popular sports franchise in town. When Georgia Frontiere moved the team to Anaheim, she lost the local fan base almost immediately. Again, Anaheim is NOT Los Angeles. Not physically, not culturally, or geographically. You are right Anahiem is not LA but she moved the team because there wasn’t enough support.

  32. kimcon22000 says: Dec 11, 2010 2:26 PM

    dontouchmyjunk says:
    Dec 11, 2010 11:51 AM
    I love how people who don’t live here make “observations” about our city that clearly show a lack of understanding about Los Angeles.

    —————————————————-

    You are actually from that liberally sick state. Liberalism is a mental disorder, thus, making anything you have to say moot ……………………………………

  33. mrcowpatty says: Dec 11, 2010 4:04 PM

    Ok, here’s your choice. Go to a L.A. football game or go to the beach and see ta tas on young ladies? All in favor of going to the beach say, ” You bet.”

  34. skamatik says: Dec 11, 2010 5:23 PM

    #1 To those of you who don’t live in LA, you have no idea what your talking about. LA isn’t a viable market for football? This is because your going off of info from 1994? The Raiders were told they would get a new stadium, not the Colosium in the ghetto. Hey Vikings, you try filling 100,000+ seats every Sunday, in fact Id bet the majority of NFL teams couldn’t do that. If they could, then the owners would build them that big. Even 70,000 in the stands makes the place look somewhat empty.
    #2 And to my socal neighbors: downtown?? Really? Have you seen the site proposed? Its the old wing of the Convention Center. You cant fit the Staples Center on that site. How big is this stadium gonna be? AEG doesn’t even have a model to show, they just have the downtown skyline which is a pretty strong case for it being there but still. That place is crowded no matter when. And where do these geniuses want us to park? Parking lot for Staples barely accomodates itself and they fit 19,000.
    #3 Industry is a great idea. It’s the halfway point for LA Orange and IE counties so nobody can really complain. I’ts surrounded by freeways and it is in LA COUNTY. Hell, the Giants and Jets play in Jersey! The plans and model look great. Its big and sprawled out, cheaper to build because he is putting it IN the hills. The space would allow for a training and medical facility, the works. AEG would have to demolish, then build in a super crowded area and then allyour getting is a stadium, nothing else.
    #4 The site in Industry can be used for concerts, the Olympics, World Cup when we stop getting hosed. What are you gonna do with the one in downtown? Concert? Why when you have the Nokia Theater across the street AND the Staples next door.
    #5 I love the Raiders but I dont care who comes because both groups want control (Roski and AEG) so that means new name, new colors, NEW IDENTITY. Browns moved, became the Ravens and have been relevent since.
    #6 And to the people saying there are too many other things to do in SOCAL besides football: The beach in November is cold, Disneyland isn’t as great when you live close by, just like all the other parks and things that are here YEAR AROUND. Football on the other hand, comes around once a year, and eight times to your city.

  35. skamatik says: Dec 11, 2010 5:33 PM

    Hey mcrowpatty: the only ta tas your gonna see at the beach in the winter is some surfer dude’s when he’s taking off his wetsuit. So ya, I vote football.

  36. dontouchmyjunk says: Dec 11, 2010 5:38 PM

    @bkunza.

    No, she moved the team for a variety of reasons, not excluding that Mausoleum was planned to be shut down for renovation for the 1984 Olympics.

    It was timing and opportunity.

    @mrcowpatty

    You clearly don’t live here. You will find beauties on the beaches of Orange County, or up north of Ventura, but not LA. In LA, the beaches are occupied by the homeless, crack heads, weirdos with green hair, gangs, and the occasional ugly person with a dog.

    No normal person goes anywhere near the LA beaches.

  37. raiders757 says: Dec 11, 2010 5:57 PM

    I don’t care where they build it as long as it’s not a dome or a stadium with a retractable roof. Football is meant to be played outdoors no matter the elements involved.

  38. jebdamone says: Dec 11, 2010 7:57 PM

    the retractable roof idea has to be a joke, right? its LA…why would they ever need a retractable roof? although i guess jerry’s world has one right? i guess they don’t want players to have to play in the extreme heat?

  39. theytukrjobs says: Dec 11, 2010 8:31 PM

    Look I’m no engineer (actually I am lol) but I’m pretty sure it is technically possible to build a stadium in downtown LA, despite what this bozo is saying.

    Ironic that he accuses them of confusing the issue before saying that it is somehow impossible to build a stadium downtown. I’d say it is more impossible to build a stadium in f’ing Industry.

  40. mrcowpatty says: Dec 11, 2010 8:48 PM

    @dontouch,
    You just described a Raider fan.

  41. ramcountry says: Dec 12, 2010 1:29 AM

    Stop tagging this crap with the Rams. They are years away from moving, if it happens at all.

  42. maddenp6 says: Dec 12, 2010 9:06 AM

    I love how people who don’t live here make “observations” about our city that clearly show a lack of understanding about Buffalo.

    dontouchmyjunk says:
    Dec 11, 2010 11:51 AM
    I love how people who don’t live here make “observations” about our city that clearly show a lack of understanding about Los Angeles.

  43. fpbear says: Dec 12, 2010 2:17 PM

    The downtown LA stadium would use astroturf because of the re-configurable convention floor and retractable roof. Can you imagine fake grass in sunny Southern California? I thought the retractable roof idea was bad enough because the weather is so nice here, it would be awkward to have to close up the roof. And fake grass?? That just tops it off. Leiweke’s downtown stadium proposal is such a mess of complexity and bad ideas – it will never get off the ground. That’s not to mention the traffic and parking nightmare that would result. I like Roski’s plan much better, with plenty of space for tailgating and enjoying the weather and scenery on the hill.

  44. tdk24 says: Dec 12, 2010 5:17 PM

    Giving projects to the lowest bidder is why NFL stadiums don’t last. They build crap now.

  45. fpbear says: Dec 12, 2010 8:02 PM

    A retractable roof in sunny Southern CA and fake plastic grass is what I would call crap, regardless of how expensive it would be.

  46. vintageteamstore says: Dec 12, 2010 9:37 PM

    A lot of things have changed in the business since the Rams and the Raiders left in the 90′s, and Los Angeles is now in a perfect position business-wise to support one, if not two, teams. Sports venues is now where powerful people want to be seen, and as a result every PSL and luxury box in L.A. will be sold out once the stadium is built. The LA team will be one of the msot valuable franchises in sports. That being said, I see San Diego getting out of their lease in 2011 and moving before the Vikings leave Minnesota – especially with the situation at the Metrodome.

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