Yahoo Sports: Downtown stadium 'essentially dead'

Thumbnail image for farmers-field-overview.jpgI have no idea if Yahoo Sports author Jason Cole knows what he's talking about, or which side is using him here, but he has covered the NFL for the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He says that two uncharacterized sources tell him that the league's interest in AEG's downtown Los Angeles football stadium has faded away. Cole writes:

Less than six months after the L.A. city council voted unanimously to support AEG's plan, the concept is essentially dead to the NFL, according to two sources. The problems with the plan are numerous, but the most essential one is the economics.

"The numbers just don't work, no matter how you look at the deal," a league source said in February. "It's either too hard for AEG to make money [and pay the debt on the stadium] or too hard for the team. I just can't see a way for it to work."

Officially, a league spokesman said Monday that the NFL is still tracking what AEG is trying to do.

"We continue to monitor the AEG situation and remain interested in multiple sites in the Los Angeles area," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

Unofficially, the NFL believes that the cost of the AEG plan, which the league believes will be at least $1.8 billion, will make it unworkable.

The story also suggests that City Hall and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "missed signals" from the NFL indicating that the stadium plan was in trouble. "I think there are many major, if not fatal, flaws in the AEG plan and it's surprising the Los Angeles political leadership has not picked up on it from the NFL," said Marc Ganis, an adviser to the Rams and Raiders when those teams relocated from Los Angeles. "If Los Angeles leaders don't move on to look at other options it will only delay the return of the NFL to Los Angeles further, possibly even years longer."

Also from Cole:

Among the "signals" that have been missed are direct meetings between L.A. officials such as outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or councilwoman Jan Perry and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in which Goodell has expressed questions about the project. Goodell has met with Villaraigosa on at least three occasions.

On top of that, the NFL reportedly told its owners in November that no team would be relocating to Los Angeles for the 2013 season. That announcement came despite optimism in Los Angeles after the city council voted 12-0 to support the stadium project in September.

Villaraigosa, who is leaving office in July and is expected to continue his political career, has continued to push the AEG plan. Calls to Villaraigosa's office and to deputy mayor Matt Karatz, who heads economic development, were not returned.

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