The nation's second largest market is called, among other things, the "City of Dreams." Whatever you want, whatever you can think of ... you can get it here in Los Angeles. Everything except one thing--a National Football League team.
The "City of the Angels" hasn't had real professional football (which excludes arena football, powder puff ball, semi-pro football and any other kind of paid substitute) since both the Rams and the Raiders left the market in 1995. Since then, the closest thing we've had to real football was the University of Southern California, and by the way ex-Trojan athletes are confessing on payments, I guess we can include them on our paid substitutes list.
Seriously though, USC, which is currently on probation through the 2013-14 season, might not clear sanctions before 2025, if athletes keep coming forward disclosing payments.
That being the case, we need to get professional football back in L.A.
The problem is that city leaders refused to pay for anything not slated for the L.A. Coliseum. The only challenge with that is that the Coliseum is only a few years younger the real Colosseum in Athens, Greece, and nobody seems to want to attend professional football games there. They say, without saying, that it's the neighborhood (though large crowds gladly tread through that same neighborhood to go to see USC football games there ... never quite figured that out). Bottom line is that L.A. won't get the NFL team until we get a new stadium. And we won't get a new stadium until the NFL awards a team. Can you say which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Oh yeah, and no taxpayer money can go into the stadium (if it ain't the Coliseum). This is the run-around L.A. football fans have endured for the past 16 years.
As a result, we have to root for other market's teams. I rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles last year. No reason why, other than L.A. didn't have a team, and they gave Michael Vick a chance. Just needed to root for somebody.
My point is that's the only way L.A. fans can follow pro football is to root for another team. But all that is about to come to an end ... we think. Hail to AEG.
The Anshultz Entertainment Group, known as AEG for short, has promised to build a new, state-of-the-art, Jimmy-Jones type, new-Yankee-Stadium kind of arena, with their own money and no city subsidies (taxpayer money) to the tune of $1 billion. Yeah, I know ... it sounds too good to be true. That's what everybody's saying.
So, AEG, which has a proven track record as an efficient highrise and stadium developer after building Staples Center and L.A. Live, went out and sold the naming rights to the stadium and got $700 million from Farmers Insurance. That only left $300 million for taxpayers to dodge, so now they're planning to sign a long-term land lease with the city of Los Angeles and sell additional advertising rights to make up the difference in the money. You only have to walk through L.A. Live at night and let the near blinding light show and signage hit you to know that's gonna work. Times Square West is here.