Leiweke believes NFL is ready to return to L.A., now

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As a second L.A. stadium project moves toward securing the ability to begin moving dirt, the man in charge of the effort believes that the NFL is indeed ready to move back to Los Angeles.

AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke told PFT by phone late Wednesday afternoon that he believes the NFL wants to return to the nation’s No. 2 TV market.

Leiweke said that AEG has a working relationship with a majority of the NFL’s owners, and that he has heard concerns from many owners and network executives that, while the NFL currently is doing fine without a presence in Los Angeles, the league’s interests are better served if it can avoid having multiple generations of fans growing up in L.A. without a local team.

On the eve of the publication of AEG’s Environmental Impact Report for the venue that will be named Farmers Field, Leiweke said that securing full approval of the EIR represents the last obstacle that falls within AEG’s direct control.  The only remaining hurdle is one that Anschutz will try to overcome, via the location of a team that will sell him all, most, or part of the franchise and relocate to Los Angeles.

“[Anschutz] didn’t think we’d get political deals with Los Angeles, political deals with the state, approval of the EIR,” Leiweke said.  “He didn’t think we’d get the largest naming-rights deal for a stadium that hasn’t been built.”

Now the question becomes whether Anschutz can lure a team that will sell him at least enough of the asset to justify, via the ongoing growth in franchise value, the billion-dollar investment Anschutz will be making in the stadium.  “If he can own a piece of the asset that will substantially grow in value,” Leiweke explained, “that makes the project a better bet.”

Leiweke said Anschutz has not yet identified the specific minimum percentage he would need to buy, and that AEG currently is pursuing no teams.  Instead, AEG is deferring to the league office.

“We follow the lead of the Commissioner,” Leiweke said, adding that Roger Goodell plays “no games,” that he’s straightforward, and that AEG prefers it that way.

That said, AEG remains leery of the prospect of being caught in a leverage play, with AEG and another project being played against each other in the hopes of the NFL getting the best possible deal.  In this regard, Leiweke seems to be most concerned about the league flirting with a possible stadium location in the vicinity of Dodgers Stadium.

Leiweke said that any effort to build at Chavez Ravine will require four years to get to the point that the AEG plan now occupies.  And that could be why Leiweke is now making it known that, four years from now, Anschutz and AEG will be out of the NFL stadium business.

Though the specific drop-dead date remains unclear, it arises at some point in the next two years and nine months.

“It’s safe to assume if we’re sitting here in 2014 and chasing a team, that our interest not only wanes but probably disappears at some point during that year,” Leiweke said.

Leiweke also conceded that he’s “very” concerned about the imposition by the other 31 owners of a relocation fee that would disrupt the economics of the plan.  Though he didn’t identify the specific amount that would kill the deal, Leiweke said that a $1 billion relocation fee will not be paid.

Despite the fact that no team is for sale and that no team is apparently ready to load up the Mayflower trucks and move to California, Leiweke sees the to-be-constructed stadium as half full.  Or more.  “I’m a very optimsitic,” Leiweke said.  “If I was with Custer I probably would have told him, plow straight ahead. . . . .  Everyone thought we were crazy at L.A. Live. . . .  We have always been told ‘no.’  I like hearing ‘no,’ because it makes us more determined to get to the ‘yes.'”

Although AEG needs to hear “yes” several more times before ground is broken, the biggest “yes” hinges on something that hasn’t happened in 16 years:  The movement of a team from its current home to Los Angeles.

51 responses to “Leiweke believes NFL is ready to return to L.A., now

  1. I think Leiweke’s business is ready for a team to move into his stadium. I also think Leiweke knows nothing about football, the NFL, or its needs.

  2. I like hearing ‘no,’ because it makes us more determined to get to the ‘yes.’”

    Bathroom Ben’s logic.

  3. Glad to hear from Leiweke…should we get the Gecko from Geico thought’s on it as well?

    Either way, I don’t want to tune into an NFL team and see a bunch of jackass celebrities being focused on during timeouts like Nicholoson, Decaprio, mcconaughey or even retard celebrities like the skanky Kardashians or some dweeb that played a vampire…

  4. Leiweke may think this, but what about the supposed “fans” in and around LA? The NY Giants could move there tomorrow, and the stadium would probably be half-full at best. People rag on Jax for their tarps; but the fans there are more loyal than any LA fan base could ever hope to be. Fat cats like this blueblood want a team there for the $

  5. @cmarsh,

    Weaver made it very clear the last few years that he would not sell the jags to an owner who didn’t have the long term goal of keeping the jags and making them successful in jacksonville. I can assure you as this is why he wasn’t able to buy the team.

  6. How can the #2 TV market not have an NFL team?
    I’ve never understood that.
    Is it the demographics of LA?
    Someone from SoCal please explain.

  7. LA fans will support a winner, that’s all. They won’t throw money away on a team that has no interest in winning (LA Rams) or has dysfunctional fans that will shank you (LA Raiders). If you think that makes us bad or unworthy fans I respect your views. However unlike some other NFL cities we have other options to spend our money on and won’t dump it on a bad product. Some of you call it being bad fans. We call it being smart consumers. Money doesn’t grow on trees folks.

  8. kronix7 says: L.A. had a team once and it failed. What makes them think it will work this time around?

    Football is Los Angeles did not “fail” by any means. Did football “fail” in Houston, Cleveland, and Baltimore too?

    The 90’s were all about getting publicly funded stadiums. The cities that weren’t willing to build one or were slow in doing so lost their teams. The NFL made that perfectly clear to the citizens and governments of all NFL cities- give us what we want or we’re gone.

    St. Louis was ready to build the Rams a stadium and Los Angeles wasn’t. It was that simple.

  9. “If I was with Custer I probably would have told him, plow straight ahead. . . . . ” Hey Tim, Custer and his 7th Calvary were slaughtered so I’m not sure what you were trying to imply with that one. Speaking of history, does anyone care about the fact that no NFL franchise has EVER had long term success in Los Angeles? Just sayin.

  10. The idiots in the flyover states need to shut their pie hole. You don’t know LA and you never will.

    To croghan1919 – You ask a pertinent question. The issue for NFL success in LA has always been about a suitable stadium. Both stadiums in LA proper, the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, were designed and built nearly 100 years ago. The Rose Bowl people in Pasadena will not allow for any structural modifications and it stands today much as it did in 1925. Their argument is one of historic preservation.

    The Coliseum has undergone some modification, but there is a limit to what could be done.

    Neither stadium is conducive to financial success in the modern NFL. Neither were conducive to financial success in the 1980’s, let alone the 21st century.

    Both stadiums have over 100,000 seats, like a modern college stadium. But 30,000 of those seats are horrible. People won’t buy them for NFL games. The Raiders routinely sold 60,000 seats at the Coliseum every Sunday. But the stadium looked 1/3 empty — because it was. There’s no structural support for modern luxury boxes, and generally, the Coliseum is a dump.

    The entire NFL in LA story is, was, and always has been about a modern stadium that can support the modern game and the way fans enjoy it now. Not the way they enjoyed the game in 1925.

    Knuckleheads in the flyover states don’t understand that, and they never will. And lastly, Anaheim, where the Rams moved in 1979, is NOT Los Angeles. Not culturally, not geographically, and not in any way, shape, or form. Anaheim is like an entirely different country, let alone state. Angelenos won’t travel there for pretty much anything. Period.

  11. time will tell how it all plays out,,,but i say it ends up in the courts on who owns the rights to LA.

  12. “I’d like to see us make the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl while I’m around,” the 93-year-old Wilson told the Buffalo News. “I don’t expect to be around that many years.”

    His family has already stated they will sell the team after he passes. Unless the NFL wants to remain in a small shrinking market, the sale of the Bills to AEG make good business. It also would move them much closer to the $20 billion industry they are hoping to get to.

  13. RavenzGunnerz says: LA Browns. Why should Ohio have two teams?

    Both the Browns and Bengals have new stadiums and these wacky things called leases. Teams can’t just pack up and move at will.

  14. Once upon a time, the Rams had a huge fanbase in LA and were one of the League’s marquee franchise’s. They messed it all up by moving to the baseball park in Anaheim, alienating many of their long time fans and opening the door for the Raiders to move in.

    The Raiders immediately won a super bowl, which showed up the Rams, but then the Raiders developed their gangland criminal image, which alienated all the normal people in So Cal.

    The Rams were badly mismanaged by Georgia Frontierre, who then jumped at the chance to make the nonsensical move of her team to tiny St. Louis, her hometown.

    A well run LA team will be a cash cow, and everyone knows it. But it can’t afford another Frontierre or Al Davis in the owners box.

  15. bear0402 says: The only town in the United States to have 2 teams leave town within 10 years of each other. #fail

    1. Not many cities have two teams to begin with.

    2. I must have imagined the Dodgers and Giants leaving New York within two years of each other.

    3. Washington, DC lost two baseball teams within 11 years.

  16. Mike stop tagging the Vikings with L.A story unless it happen cause it very annoying thanks

  17. fijabbersman345 says:
    Apr 4, 2012 7:30 PM
    I think Leiweke’s business is ready for a team to move into his stadium. I also think Leiweke knows nothing about football, the NFL, or its needs.


    So he’s just like all you noodle brained vikequeef twits. Expect he’s not a broke ass welfare recipient.

  18. AEG wants the Chargers plain and simple. They will move north to a brand new facility because San Diego wont build the Chargers a new one.

    This has been the Plan from AEG day 1.

    Problem with the NFL is they want to put football in LA and LA wants football. We have a project set in motion and the NFL are constantly causing road blocks with removing the stadium g3-g4 loan for relocated teams. An over the top purchase price for a team in the LA market and possible 500 million relocation fee. Really NFL if they are serious they will soften these things up otherwise there will be no NFL in LA. I don’t ever recalling any other cities heading so much to just obtain a team when we have a Billionaire ready to help the process and make some money as well.

    NFL makes so much money and unless they really want the LA market they are going to try and suck AEG’s bank account dry to do it. This is the best chance to get it done so I hoe both parties are ready.
    Also remember what ever team goes to LA, Rodger Goodell is choosing it.

  19. The Nfl should just purchase a small market less marketable franchise like Pittsburgh or Buffalo and sell it to the highest bidder with the condition they put the franchise in LA.

  20. Well one Los Angeles has had the Rams Raiders and even the Chargers even if for the single season. My question which one of those teams has the largest fan-bases in SoCal ?

  21. I live downtown LA and will buy season tickets for whatever team we get (hoping the Chargers) on the first day they go on sale. I know at least 25 people who have the means and the determination to do the same.

    Sure it’s only 25 people but thats a lot if you take the sample out of the couple hundred people I know. I don’t know the other 10,000,000 people in the LA area.

    The game is more popular nationally than it was back when LA had teams. The NBA was king and the Lakers were always relevant and stole the show from everybody.

    Not to mention the Great One who scored a million goals on ice skates and stole the scraps of limelight that were left behind by the Lakeshow.

    IDK. I think it can work. GO LA!

  22. LA can’t you understand that no team can make there. The fans don’t exist, CA is all fruits and nuts, not NFL FANS. bunch a meatheads, dead from the neck up!

  23. fijabbersman345 says: I think Leiweke’s business is ready for a team to move into his stadium. I also think Leiweke knows nothing about football, the NFL, or its needs.

    While it possible that Tim doesnt know much about football, his younger brother Tod Leiweke (Former President and CEO of the Seattle Seahawks/Vulcan) does. Even if Tod isn’t helping out his brother, I’m sure he has the resources available to be able to make competent decisions.

  24. The NFL in SoCal in the 80’s and 90’s was nothing compared to today. Every Sports Bar from LA to the IE to OC is packed with Football fans, so for those who think we could’nt care less about getting a Team here is just delusional. Yes we have the Beaches, Theme Parks, Etc… we still need our Sunday fix of the NFL. Now for this Stadium Proposal in Dowtown LA, it’s got to be the worst thing to happen to that area. First you Have the Lakers playing at noon, then the Dodgers playing at 1pm, then a 1pm Football game? Traffic Nightmare! And to top it off there’s no parking lot to Tailgate! What’s a Sunday afternoon without Tailgating before the big game? The City of Industry Satdium Proposal is a far better plan, Tailgating, entertainment for all, access to 15 million people + in a 50 mile radius, Its just a far better plan the DTLA site. And as for what fan base is bigger here in SoCal, it has to be the Raiders. Chargers games are filled with the opposing teams colors. Rams fans are only in OC but the Raiders fan base is all over, Raider Image stores evrywhere around here!

  25. I don’t ever recalling any other cities heading so much to just obtain a team when we have a Billionaire ready to help the process and make some money as well.”

    I also don’t know of another city that has lost 3 franchises in the super bowl era

  26. The ‘LA tagged’ team with the most crappiest stadium should go to Los Angeles; From the most adequate stadium to a straight POS.

    4th STL (staying)
    3rd OAK (staying)
    2nd MIN (staying)
    1st SD (going)

    In it’s return to La La Land from the multi-purpose cookie-cutter bowl known as Qualcomm Stadium, to the brand spanking new Farmers Field!

    LA Chargers!!!!

  27. Great, so what does this article (or any other article involving LA and a stadium) have to do with the vikings? Hey gb4mn0, I’d rather be a viqueef than a packqueer, just sayin’.

  28. LA Bills!

    Why should the tax payers of New York foot the bill on over $100 million on fixing Ralph Wilson Stadium?

    Why doesn’t Ralph Wilson since he is already a millionare numerous times over?

    $100 million can fix alot of things in Buffalo like bringing jobs there, paying the Bflo firemen, & maybe fixing the war zone on the East side of Buffalo?

    I have always been a Bills fan but why should the poor people of Buffalo & NY state pay for it?

  29. Yes, but it’s ready to stay away from you!!!!

    Discount price for fractional team ownership, you and Anschutz are both jokes!!!!!

    Go Ed Roski!!!!

  30. The Chargers make the most sense as far as needing a new stadium and being in close proximity to L.A. Chargers fans would still have their team in the same state and would seem to be the best move. But, is Spanos willing to give up the majority of ownership to this Anschutz guy?

    What teams owners are looking to get out of the NFL? I would guess none. But if the Wilson family doesn’t want to maintain a team after Ralph passes away, then that seems to be the only legit chance for Farmers Field.

    Sounds like the 2nd stadium option might be better if no ownership stake is required as part of the move.

  31. I really wish you young fools under 30yrs of age would stop mentioning how LA lost teams before and that they cant support a NFL franchise because of that..you obviously have an MIDWEST/EAST-COAST Bias and know nothing about the LEFT COAST period….Cleveland, Houston and Baltimore all lost teams but got another opportunity

    If you lived here you would know that we have easily 10times the amount to thing to do with our money than the rest of the USA…LA only supports a GOOD Product!!!

    Example…Lakers Sell out their games and a very hard ticket to get your hands on, but in the same building(Staples Center) the Clippers were roughly getting around 60-70% capacity before Blake Griffin and Chris Paul showed up..now that Griffin& Paul are in town their games a near capacity or sold out! So spare me the childish rants about LA cant support a team cuz when it comes to LA Fans we think exactly like the infamous quote from ex-49ers coach Mike Singletary at his press conference ” I Want WINNERS!!! “

  32. Hey izzy60435, let this 25 year old “fool” tell you why you are an ignorant chump, and how you just legitimized EVERY statement made poking at you and your fellow LA Fan Wannabees:

    Since nearly 30% of NFL fans range from ages 18-34 it’s hard to understand why we are SO naive of its’ economics. I would blame technology and video games. That isn’t the case when applied to those under the age of 30 who follow football in LA though. They are fortunate enough to “have easily 10times the amount to thing to… money” for they’re edjukashun. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 25 insufficient years on earth it’s that age, above all, divides the fools from the brains. Besides in LA.

    Guess what Mr. Loyal fan; ANYBODY can love their home team when it is “WINNING”. Fans come out of the WOODWORK when a team starts out 5-0 let alone makes the playoffs, most of which are the TRUE die-hard supporters unlike all the two-faced fair weather type that cheer their team no matter what. Last year my favorite team was the Giants. The year before that, the Packers. I was a HUGE Saints fan in twenty ten. If it were up to me I would put the Patriots (tied for most Superbowl wins) in LA and abolish the salary cap. Then they could buy up ALL of the most expensive, err, I mean best players and win the Superbowl every year, (If sports history has taught us anything it’s that the team with the most money and most superstars wins every championship.) If that didn’t work I’d just start my own league in LA and only allow LA “WINNERS” in it that way LA would win every game.

    LA deserves a team as much as any city in the country and sooner or later it will get it when you and everyone else on this blog make the decision to get it. If only Leiweke and the NFL commission would just listen to you! All these other pesky teams/fans in bad television markets should just shut up and roll over when it comes to losing something they’ve probably worshiped every Sunday for half their lives, or even (God forbid) whole lives in the case of us childish young bucks.

    I cant wait for 5 more years to pass so I can finally fully appreciate and understand my most beloved sport. If only those of us in the pathetic fly-over states had your wisdom. Hopefully the next terrorist attack targets our inferior geographic location instead.

    Here’s your self-appointed representative Los Angeles: Izzy60435. Boo this man.

  33. I almost forgot Izzy… Did you HEAR Singletary’s “infamous” I WANT WINNERS speech? You can NOT be serious that you quoted that in reference to the SUPPORT of LA getting a team. Are you sure you’re not under 30?!

  34. Hey Lieweke, if you want it then build it and they or someone will come or you can just add #33 to the NFL team schedule coming straight from your pocket! You want tonbuild the Jerry jones stadium and then you want ownership papers also???? to get a team to load up thevwagons to come play in the smoggy slums of LA is going to take more then you just build it and they will come. That’s why the Raiders left LA….. Oaktown is where they belonged, you try the Rams again? Maybe they need some cap money bout now!

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