Coincidentally (or not), with the Metrodome collapsed under a load of snow and TCF Bank Stadium being unearthed from the same snowfall that killed the Metrodome, the folks behind a proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles released on Wednesday three potential designs for the venue.
But behind the glitzy images of what may eventually be lies the reality that it may never be. Tim Leiweke of AEG admitted to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that Philip Anschutz, the owner of the company, has “not yet” gotten fully behind the project.
It’s a chicken-and-egg dilemma, with AEG not willing to make a significant financial commitment until it’s clear that the investment of time and money will result in the construction of a stadium in which an NFL team will play.
“That’s Mr. Anschutz’s decision and risk, and if he gets comfortable we can do it,” Leiweke said. “We’ve done that before — we didn’t have anybody booked in the [new high-rise] hotel [next to Staples] when we decided to build that, either.”
Right, but the stakes are a little higher here, as is the price tag. And with Leiweke recently saying that he needs to know within a few months whether the project can move forward, and with the NFL not inclined to get serious about L.A. until it resolves the lingering mess with the C.B.A., there’s a chance that the recent criticism from Ed Roski’s group was accurate.
“Tim’s a bad guy,” said John Semcken, Roski’s right-hand man. “He can’t build the building.”
We don’t know whether Tim’s a bad guy. But we do know that, if Anschutz (like Roski) is adopting an “if they come, we will build it” mentality and if Anschutz needs an answer sooner rather than later, the league may end up saying “see you later” to AEG.