L.A. stadium proposal revised

Updated: October 11, 2011, 7:45 PM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Real estate developer Ed Roski submitted a revised stadium plan Tuesday at the league's owners meetings in Houston.

Roski recently dropped his demand for a free minority share of the NFL franchise that relocates to Los Angeles in exchange for his 600-acre lot in the City of Industry and is now committed to buying a minority share of the team at fair market value in exchange for the land.

Roski's group is competing with Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is going forward with a plan for Farmers Field, a $1.2 billion stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

Despite dropping his initial ownership demand, Roski's proposal still has plenty of holes for league owners, which never seriously considered any deal in which a minority share of a team was given to someone in exchange for land to build a stadium. In fact, such a deal was shot down by Roski's partner John Semcken last week.

"There is no team swapping for a stadium," he said. "That is just not going to happen. That's not the way it works. The National Football League would never approve that."

The league is keeping close tabs on the two potential stadium projects.

"We think there are two opportunities in Los Angeles and we are going to pursue both of them aggressively," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Roski's current plan still does not answer the question of how the stadium will be financed. In Roski's original plan, he said he would buy a full or majority share of a team, relocate it to Los Angeles and privately finance a stadium. In his most recent plan, he wants to buy a minority share of the team and is asking the team to figure out how to finance the stadium after moving to Los Angeles, which offers no public money for stadiums.

That brings up an even bigger issue for NFL owners. The league will not allow a team to relocate to Los Angeles unless financing for the new stadium has been secured, and it would be impossible for a team to secure financing for a stadium in Los Angeles while still in its current city. Most teams with stadium issues, like the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers, are asking the public to largely finance proposed new stadiums. If they could finance a stadium without public subsidies, they would likely have done so by now.

An NFL team executive who has reviewed Roski's and AEG's plans said it would be impossible for a team to relocate unless the financing of a new stadium was nailed down and there was some kind of completion guarantee on the stadium before moving.

"You can't have a situation where you move to Los Angeles and are stuck playing at the Coliseum or Rose Bowl for 10 years because your financing plan fell apart," the executive said. "No team's going to take that risk. The league's not going to take that risk."

Roski's plan carries other risks as well. Any team that relocates would assume all the risk of financing and building the stadium as the majority owner, whereas AEG would assume all that risk as the developer because they would own and operate the downtown stadium. The team would share in the revenues -- similar to AEG's deal at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Roski, who has been trying to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles since the Raiders and Rams left in 1995, announced his plan to build a 75,000-seat stadium in the City of Industry, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, in 2008. In 2009, the state gave the project a state environmental exemption, which protects it from environmental lawsuits. Still, Roski has not been able to secure a team.

Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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