Interesting news on Monday from Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole, who reported Monday that the proposed downtown Los Angeles football stadium “is essentially dead to the NFL.” This despite unanimous approval of the Farmers Field concept by the L.A. City Council.
Cole has been lapping the field on this for some time. His October 2011 story “NFL unhappy with downtown L.A. plan” outlined the difficulty in making the NFL-team-as-tenant concept work. The fundamental problem:
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.
L.A. Times NFL reporter Sam Farmer has his own “Silver Linings Notebook” on Cole’s story. Farmer believes the league “hasn’t given up on downtown” and that the leak could be a ploy to “promote a downtown-is-dead story, potentially deflate the asking price of AEG, and possibly facilitate a deal down the road with a new AEG owner.”
That strikes me as a rather optimistic reading of the situation from L.A.’s perspective.
Regardless, it looks like at least a temporary reprieve for Chargers fans nervous about their long-speculated relocation. Farmer writes:
Anschutz and San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos were never going to see eye to eye on a deal, for instance. The tension got so thick between AEG and the Chargers, the two stopped communicating. Were there a new AEG owner offering a more NFL-friendly deal, you can bet the Chargers and others would be kicking the tires on it.
One can only imagine how the “tension got so thick” between AEG and the Chargers. “We keep the revenue and you sell us part of the team.” “No, WE keep the revenue and all of the team.” And then talks broke down.
So can San Diego can rest easy and expect the Chargers to continue playing in a stadium built in 1967 indefinitely? Not likely. For the time being, however, the immediate threat of a move to L.A. seems to be in retreat.