By Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno
March 10, 2015
After investing five years and $50 million in an attempt to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles, AEG is abandoning plans for its Farmers Field football stadium downtown.
The sports and entertainment conglomerate is no longer in discussions with the NFL or any teams about the project, company officials said Monday.
“I think it’s fair to say we have turned our attention to proceeding with an alternative development,” AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said.
Fikre said AEG will not seek an extension of its deal with the city, which expires April 17 and hinges on a long-term agreement with a team. The city, which owns the proposed stadium land, had already given the company an additional six months.
AEG failed to attract an NFL team, even though many league owners and executives viewed the site favorably. In recent weeks, competing stadium proposals in Inglewood and Carson, backed by NFL team owners, have overshadowed the AEG plan.
“We would always prefer to have an excellent site in the mix, but we recognize that it is not in our control,” said NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, the league’s point man on the L.A. market.
In January, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his partners revealed plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium at the former Hollywood Park site in Inglewood. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders said last month they have joined on a competing proposal in Carson. Those projects are moving forward, although no team has announced plans to relocate.
Billionaire Ed Roski has not spoken to the NFL in more than a year about his proposal in the City of Industry, effectively putting that option out of the running.
Farmers Field, proposed in April 2010, was to be built where the West Hall of the Convention Center now sits. Eight years earlier, AEG had dropped plans for a football stadium on the other side of Staples Center.
Although AEG says it no longer has designs on an NFL stadium, the company has been marshaling a case against the Inglewood site. It also pointed out to Carson’s mayor that a stadium could affect AEG’s assets in the city, including StubHub Center, a sports complex it owns.
The company hired former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, who produced a report criticizing the Inglewood stadium as being a potential safety risk and terrorist target because of its location on the flight path of planes arriving at Los Angeles International Airport.
Mark Rosenker, a former head of the National Transportation Safety Board, also hired by AEG, cited in a separate report a potential for accidents on landings and debris falling from airplanes.
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