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That steady drumbeat of the march toward a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles just skipped its first beat.

After a wave of positive local and state political happenings, Yahoo! Sports throws some skepticism on the idea:

Despite significant political momentum throughout California for a downtown Los Angeles stadium that would house an NFL team, the league had a recent message for people involved with the project:

Right now, no thanks.

During a Sept. 6 meeting at the NFL offices in New York, commissioner Roger Goodell told Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry and political aide Bernard Parks, Jr. that neither the league nor any team interested in moving there would agree to the business proposal set forth by Anschutz Entertainment Group, according to three sources with knowledge of the conversation. AEG is the private company that has offered to build and operate a retractable-roof stadium, which would be named Farmers Field, on the site that is currently part of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Now, a word of caution: This could all just be part of the hardball negotiating that the NFL is so good at. It hasn’t gotten so successful by listening to the first offer and just jumping up out of its chair to shake hands on a deal.

But there are a couple of tidbits of particular note for Chargers fans nonetheless:

• AEG has made an offer to the Chargers and other teams, the report says. The company is hoping to buy a share of a team at a discounted rate, knowing that the value for all owners shoots up as soon as a team is in LA.

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One of the major questions in my mind for the Chargers has always been this: Is it more valuable to own essentially the entire team in San Diego, or just a share of the team in Los Angeles?

Here’s what Yahoo says:

(AEG’s Phillip) Anschutz has offered teams such as the San Diego Chargers roughly $250 million to buy approximately 50 percent of a team, two NFL sources said.

… The problem is that those numbers don’t work for the NFL. It makes no sense for an owner to move to Los Angeles if it has to sell half the team at a discounted rate while the value of the team does not increase dramatically.

“If I were advising a team, I would be hard pressed to tell them to sell a significant portion of equity in their team,” said Marc Ganis, the president of SportsCorp, a sports consulting group. “With the collective bargaining agreement that was just signed and the certainty in cost that exist now, you’re really going to see team values increase drastically without having to do something like moving the team and taking that kind of risk.

• The NFL doesn’t appear to like the idea of sharing profits with an outside entity or a city. This is tangentially interesting here, as our Scott Lewis and mayoral candidate Bob Filner have mentioned the idea that if San Diego’s going to help finance a stadium here, it should get a stake in the team. Why? Because, as it tends to do in situations like these, the NFL believes it has the leverage.

Five NFL team executives have said over the past two months that what AEG is asking for is not acceptable for an NFL team.

… NFL teams don’t need to cut such deals to give part of the profit to another entity, let alone watch some of the money go to a third entity. As part of the MOU, Los Angeles would be paid a “market-value” lease by AEG for the property the stadium sits on. Perry noted that the lease, which runs for 55 years, includes “escalators.” In short, the city is also seeking to make money on the stadium.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at or 619.325.0526.

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