Report: Stadium plan may be in peril

Updated: March 30, 2012, 12:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Plans for a downtown stadium and a return of the NFL to Los Angeles might be in peril, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports.

Citing three sources, the website reported Thursday that billionaire developer Phil Anschutz is unwilling to change the terms of a deal that would trigger the return of the NFL to Los Angeles. The deal would call for a downtown stadium to be built and run by Anschutz Entertainment Group. But according to the report, the financial plan is a sticking point.

According to Yahoo!, Anschutz met in December with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in Denver to discuss the proposed deal. Villaraigosa requested the meeting, according to Yahoo!, with the goal of encouraging Anschutz to place more support behind the stadium AEG has proposed building.

Goodell told Anschutz at the meeting the terms were unacceptable for the NFL and the handful of potential teams that could move to L.A., including the San Diego Chargers, according to the report.

"It was friendly, but boiled down to the view that no NFL owner would accept the terms proposed," one of the sources told Yahoo!. "If (AEG) wanted to get that much control over an NFL franchise, their only option would be to buy a team. If they were willing to back off the control and buy a (limited partnership) stake for a reasonable price, then a shared interest in selling suites/clubs/sponsorships could be worked out."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment to Yahoo! on whether Goodell met with Anschutz. AEG spokesman Michael Roth declined to comment because AEG president Tim Leiweke did not take part in the meeting, and Roth said he does not speak for Anschutz, according to the report.

AEG is supposed to reveal an Environment Impact Report on the proposed site in early April.

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