The Los Angeles City Council has approved the plans to build a new 72,000 seat stadium in downtown Los Angeles to hopefully draw an NFL team back to town.
The stadium, financed by AEG, known as Farmers Field will be situated in West Hall. The complex is estimated to cost roughly $1.2 billion. No date has been scheduled for the start of the construction as of yet.
Initial designs of the stadium show a stadium with the capacity to hold 72,000, with the possibility to increase the size to 76,000 for major events, such as the Super Bowl. Other features would include a retractable roof as well as revamping Pico Hall to cater for the larger conventions which the Los Angeles Convention Centre can’t hold.
Farmers Field wasn’t the only offer the City Council had to take into consideration. Edward Roski, the builder of the Staples Center and part owner of the L.A Lakers and Kings, had proposed to build a $800 mllion, 75,000 seat football stadium in the entertainment district of Industry, just 35 miles east of the Farmers Field site.
However, the project faced adversity from local city councils and Roski said he wouldn’t build the stadium unless he had a guarantee that a team was relocating, which ultimately brought the downfall of the project.
Los Angeles has been the epicentre of the American sports world in recent times; having recently won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in the NHL and pulling two of the biggest NBA stars in Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to town, strengthening the Clippers and Lakers in the NBA.
Magic Johnson brought pride back to the Dodgers after his management group, Guggenheim Partners, bought out the franchise for a record $2.15 billion dollars from disgraced owner Frank McCourt. Meanwhile over the other side of town, the emergence of 21 year old Mike Trout has the Angels quietly forming into a powerhouse behind Free Agency signings Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson.
The USC Trojans are one of the biggest college football teams in the whole country and will most likely house the 2013 number one draft pick, QB Matt Barkley. This is a town neck deep in quality sports teams and stars and yet, they don’t have a team in the NFL, the biggest of the major leagues.
In a town where stars and big events are so prevalent, it only seems natural for America’s second largest city to have a team in ‘America’s new pastime.’ Yet it has been 18 long years since the city has tasted NFL football, with both the Rams and Raiders leaving town in 1994 for St. Louis and Oakland respectively. With the new state of the art stadium to be built, it seems fans won’t have to wait too much longer.
The initial candidates to relocate to L.A were the Rams, Raiders, another former L.A team in the Chargers,the Jaguars and the Vikings. The Vikings has since decided to stay in Minnesota after securing a deal to build a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
NFL owners will convene at the end of the season to discuss relocation in March. With the stadium only looking to be completed by 2016 and ready for the 2017 NFL season, the relocated team/s would have to play out of either the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from the 2013 until the Stadium was ready.
Also located in West Hall is the Staples Center, home to the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA and the Kings of the NHL, and L.A Live, making the West Hall one of the best entertainment districts in the US.
For AEG, it was just another feather in the cap of the company who helped built the L.A Live complex and whose headquarters reside in the precinct.
“As we proved to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Kings, if you build a great home they will come, and they will build championships,” said AEG president Tim Leiweke. “We’re making a statement to the NFL: L.A. is now open for business.”
With an amazing stadium now in the forecast, L.A fans can rejoice as pro football looks set to return to their city after two decades.
Ben Sathananthan is a first year Sports Journalism student at Latrobe University. You can follow his twitter at @bensathsports