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Friday, November 5, 2010
AEG CEO meets with NFL about stadium

ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of AEG, the company that owns LA Live and Staples Center, said Friday he has been meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding bringing a team to Los Angeles.

"We've been meeting with the league for a while. They are aware of our vision, which is how do we create a point of destination that gets multiple sporting events, multiple conventions, multiple exhibitions and trade shows for Los Angeles," Leiweke said to ESPN 710 radio on the Mason and Ireland show.

Leiweke said the 78,000-seat, $1 billion proposed stadium would be privately funded and would be built adjacent to the L.A. Convention Center and LA Live, but is several years away from becoming a reality, especially while the NFL is locked in collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the NFL Players Association. Goodell has previously said he would not work to bring a team back to L.A. until the CBA negotiations were complete.

"Until they get a CBA, nothing happens," Leiweke said. "We're at least a year and a half to two years away from anything really happening. Under the best of circumstances when they come back from the CBA, they're right into the 2011-2012 season."

Billionaire entrepreneur and businessman Phil Anschutz, a major investor in sports teams and venues including Staples Center and L.A. Live, has pledged to be part of the private investment group hoping to build the downtown stadium.

"When we say a billion dollars, it's not contingent on financing. Phil can do it if he wants to get it done tomorrow," Leiweke said.

However, it was not clear whether Anschutz would seek an ownership stake if a team comes to L.A.

"This is up to the commissioner, so we follow Roger Goodell's lead," Leiweke said when asked about Anschutz's desire to own the team.

A previously-announced mixed-use stadium in the City of Industry proposed by billionaire developer Edward Roski's Majestic Realty included provisions for local ownership if a team moves to Los Angeles. Roski has also said he would not break ground on the City of Industry stadium unless an NFL team commits to move into it.

Leiweke was not as committal.

"You do the entitlement and design without a team commitment. You're not going to be pushing dirt on the stadium for a couple of years," he said.