Since the Raiders and Rams left Los Angeles in the mid 90's, there have been several factors preventing the second largest market in America from getting a new franchise. The city's insistence on a new team playing in the Coliseum and not wanting to build a new stadium led to the NFL passing over Los Angeles in favor of expansion franchises in Cleveland and Houston respectively. The absence of a prime location has been the biggest factor as of late until AEG owner Phil Anschutz proposed a plan to open a new football stadium in the heart of Los Angeles' downtown district known as LA Live.
The new stadium (currently known as Farmers Field) would be a 72,000 seat multipurpose venue built adjacent to the Staples Center. Construction of the new stadium would include the tearing down of a portion of the Los Angeles convention center. The reconstruction and expansion (adding 1.4 million square feet) of the convention center would be paid for by the city with the contingency of being purchased at least in part by the AEG group. The new Stadium would be paid for primarily by AEG (up to $1 billion dollars) with the remaining costs paid for by bonds from the city that would be paid back over time by AEG.
So it's easy to understand why the city of Los Angeles has signed off on this deal. But when Anschutz met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft last December, Anschutz's terms for an NFL team brought into the new venue were deemed "unacceptable" by the NFL and the handful of potential teams for relocation.
According to reports, AEG's would have full control over the stadium and revenue. A new team would be able to move to Los Angeles and not have to build a new stadium, but would have to sign a lease and pay AEG a yearly "rent" to use the stadium. Meanwhile, revenue brought in on gamedays would be split between the team and AEG. Add that to Anschutz's demands that he be allowed to buy a significant share of that team for well below market value, and it's just too much to ask of any franchise. Most of a franchise's profit would go to AEG in rent, then they only get part of the revenue brought in by the franchise, and part of that goes to a guy who forced his way into ownership at a discount?!?
Some believe that if Anschutz wants to bring a team to Los Angeles, AEG would need to either buy a franchise, or purchase a limited share of whatever team is moving to LA (at market price), while having less control over the venue and revenue, then a deal could be worked out with a franchise. But according to the NFL, Anschutz has not made an attempt to bring a new proposal to the NFL or any of the franchise's involved.
Anschutz's reluctance to budge on his demands are speculated to be signs that he has more interest in the expansion of the convention center rather than bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles. As a result, the energy spent on bringing an NFL team to LA might now shift to the expansion of other venues in the area such as NBC and Universal Studios.
J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.