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Many close watchers of the NFL-in-Los-Angeles scene have told me that the key to stadium projects is gaining and maintaining a sense of momentum. It’s likely for this reason that developer Ed Roski’s plans to build in Industry always came with unrealized, big announcements that teams were on the way.
The downtown Los Angeles project, proposed by L.A. Live developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, is taking momentum to a different level. Today, the company is announcing a $700 million naming-rights deal with Farmers Insurance for what will be known as Farmers Field.
Announcing a naming-rights deal for a stadium that has not been built, on a site that has not been approved, for a team that has not been acquired is unheard of. No money will change hands unless each of those wishes becomes fulfilled. But for AEG, making an announcement now provides a concrete benefit — providing a sense of momentum as the company, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, tries to persuade state and city officials to approve other crucial deal points, including a long-term lease agreement on the land for the stadium and expedited review of the environmental impact of building it.
As Farmer notes, the deal still has a long way to go. It needs both city money and state environmental approval — hurdles Roski’s plan already has cleared.
Then there’s the part about getting a team, something that won’t happen at least until NFL owners and the league’s players strike a new labor deal to replace the one that expires next month. If AEG is able to continue its momentum during labor strife that could include next season’s cancellation, that would be a feat indeed.
Farmer’s article also includes the requisite list of teams that could be on move with the Chargers chief among them.