Rick Orlov of the LA Daily News reports today that the NFL privately told LA officials that a return to the Coliseum is not viable. The NFL cited "significant economic risks," namely the estimated $1 billion cost of renovating the facility.
The NFL has long held strong reservations about having a team play in the Coliseum, partially because rowdy Raider fans made the area seem far less safe. While the area has proven more than fine for USC football, it's wishful thinking to expect the NFL will just fork over $1 billion for Coliseum renovations. It may be time for Los Angeles to consider other sites. Frank McCourt has reportedly been interested in building a football stadium at Chavez Ravine (which Peter O'Malley also wanted to do), while AEG had plans for a South Park stadium a few years ago. Expect Anaheim officials to step up their NFL efforts now, but it be great to keep the NFL in LA city limits.
Any other ideas?
Well, on October 5, 1996, TJ Simers of the LA Times interviewed former Lakers, Kings, and Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke about where he'd build a NFL stadium in LA. He had some interesting thoughts in his head. Here's the excerpt:
Cooke, 84, says Los Angeles must have a football team. But he added, "This stadium is the last building I am going to build."
But if he had the chance in L.A., what would he do?
"I'd go into the Valley and find the biggest piece of land I could find," he said. "I remember there's a piece of land by a huge reservoir--you have to have that land for parking. And I'd build a football stadium, and immediately adjacent to it I'd build an arena."
But what about all the hoopla surrounding the proposal to build a new football stadium within the shell of the Coliseum?
"I don't think that's right at all," he said. "No parking. Half the fun of going to these games is the tailgate parties. I'd find a piece of land that has parking for 25,000 cars.
"Southern California must have an NFL franchise or two. What a pity, what's happened. I dare say if you built a 76,000-seat stadium for football and soccer out there, the thing would be a raving success.
"I know Peter O'Malley Dodger owner is a first-class fella, and you would never catch him selling PSLs. And that would be the perfect spot for a football stadium."
So is it time for the NFL in the valley? Or at Dodger Stadium? It has to be a better proposal than Toronto, which is starting make its own noise about getting an NFL team.