Politics

AEG hits Roski where it hurts

Mark's right over at LA Biz Observed. AEG's stadium show this morning, officially to announce the naming of Farmers Field but more importantly staged to make the downtown NFL stadium seem inevitable, puts the rival proposal by Ed Roski on the defensive. Tim Leiweke turned out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ex-mayor Jim Hahn and Eli Broad (both by video), labor chief Maria Elena Durazo, City Council delegates Jan Perry and Janice Hahn, and sports icons Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Jim Brown, Roosevelt Grier, Deacon Jones and Oscar de la Hoya. AEG also packed the Convention Center auditorium with applauding boosters and got the event carried live on Fox Sports and ESPN Radio. (Fox 11 also carried it live.)

Everyone stayed on their talking points: the stadium is about jobs, luring more and bigger conventions, and ensuring L.A. is viewed as a world city. And the biggest message other than jobs (did I mention jobs?) is that it won't cost the city's taxpayers anything. On that, Leiweke said, "I promise." He also took several jabs at critics who have raised doubts about the stadium's Downtown location and potential for public cost, made light of comments about Leiweke by Roski's camp, and took pains to assure the audience that Phil Anschutz is on board despite lingering questions. It was left to Carol Schatz of the Central City Association to lambaste "outsiders — the burbs" for raising fears of traffic.

Noted: Variety says its Stuart Levine broke the story of Farmers Insurance buying the naming rights yesterday.

Also: LAO columnist Bill Boyarsky asks "Why should Los Angeles borrow $350 million to tear down a perfectly good convention center building and rebuild it on another expensive downtown location?"

Random quotes from the AEG event after the jump.

Tim Leiweke:

This project has to be driven by the public sector but has to be paid for by the private sector....This is a vision that has been tried and tested and it works. And we're going to do it again mayor.

We will never ask for a dollar from you from the general fund or the taxpayers.

Largest naming rights [deal] since they named it planet Earth.

Mayor Villaraigosa:

The idea that we don't have a football team boggles the mind.

This is more than just about football. This is about jobs.

Timmy [Leiweke] is a force of nature...he calls me day and night...he's not afraid to dream.

This is not going to cost the taxpayers a dime.

Magic Johnson:

Boy, this is an exciting day....I sure do miss those Sundays going to the games.

[Leiweke is] a friend, mentor and business partner...the most powerful man I know.

Eli Broad:

It's time for the NFL to return.

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