Going on the air in about 20 minutes to talk about AEG's proposal for a Downtown football stadium. The piece airs at 6:44 p.m. (my usual Monday spot) and is available online and as a free podcast on iTunes. Text after the jump.
Los Angeles won’t be hosting the World Cup again any time soon.
The lords of international soccer have spoken. Russia gets the tournament in 2018. Qatar after that.
But we may get the new stadium anyway. And the maneuvering behind that has the all early signs of a classic LA power story.
The most influential man in Los Angeles who you’ve never seen or heard from wants to build the stadium.
And what Phil Anschutz wants, he usually gets from LA’s political leadership – which is just happy that he’s helped them transform Downtown.
Anschutz is the self-made Colorado billionaire who built Staples Center and L.A. Live. His Anschutz Entertainment Group is a big player in the arena and concert business, and in the European soccer game.
He also owns the LA Kings hockey team, and has dabbled in studios and movie theatres.
You probably don’t know what he looks like because Anschutz is famously media shy. He hasn’t been interviewed in decades.
Not that he’s a recluse. Kings players know him. Business leaders Downtown chat with him.
But he’s determined to stay out of the public eye -- and he’s very good at it.
The latest venture on his radar is an NFL football stadium that would rise next to Staples Center.
It would be big and come with a retractable roof, so it could handle more than NFL games and World Cup matches. Such as televised awards shows and concerts.
But the National Football League is the big prize – and the enabler that will make the stadium idea pencil out…or not.
That’s where the process is going to be intriguing to observe. I can’t wait for this story to heat up even more.
The land is currently occupied by part of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Public land – but since when is that an obstacle to powerful men in LA?
Like with the Staples Center, there’s a budding neighborhood movement to ensure that no taxpayer money goes into the stadium project.
There’s also a legitimate question about whether that corner of downtown is the right place for a stadium. Beside the crowded 110 freeway -- and near a newly thriving residential district.
Sorting out the winners and losers figures to keep City Hall busy for a long time. We’ll hear the usual voodoo economics about jobs and the value of sports teams. And on the other side, the Valley’s usual cries about public money being spent on downtown.
For his part, Anschutz reportedly is trying to buy a sizable share in the San Diego Chargers. They might become the team that brings the NFL back to Los Angeles. And after all, the Chargers began as an LA team.
But there may be rival teams, and stadium players yet to be weighed. Developer Ed Roski, Anschutz’s partner in Staples Center, also wants to build a stadium on land he controls in the City of Industry.
Frank McCourt keeps talking about an NFL facility next to Dodger Stadium.
It’s all enough to make me anticipate the new year with a bit of extra relish. It should be full of intrigue and big-city politics. Fun stuff.
Do you care whether the NFL comes back to LA? Go to KCRW.com/laobserved if you have a thought to share about the downtown stadium.
For KCRW, this has been Kevin Roderick with LA Observed.