Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Rah NFL Stadium Rah!

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

"It will be paid for by the private sector Mayor, I promise.”

And so Anschutz Entertainment Group President and CEO Tim Leiweke opened his remarks announcing the 30-year partnership with Farmers Insurance for the naming rights of Farmers Field, the proposed football stadium in Downtown Los Angeles.

“And I want to repeat that because some people don't seem to get this. This is about the community that it will be paid for completely, privately, I promise.”

L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, chair of the trade, commerce and tourism committee that oversees the Convention Center added that she wants the city to oversee the finances of the construction to ensure the taxpayers don't pay a dime.

Support for LAist comes from

“We have to make sure it is done right,” Hahn said. “That's why I want this to be a transparent, open, public process with cheerleaders, of course, but also referees. I requested that the city hire an independent financial analyst to assess this financing plan to ensure that there are no public funds that will be used to build this stadium.”

And all hour long that this seemed to be one of the recurring themes. No tax money.

Although the talk of bonds have surfaced over the past few weeks, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reasserted that the City will not chip in to pay for any shortfalls.

“Any bond issue that we need for the facilities is going to be have to be paid by AEG,” Mayor Villaraigosa said to reporters after the presentation. “Simple as that.”

As Hahn said, “We need the public on our side on this one, and the only way we do that is to make sure there are no tax dollars on this project.”

With Hahn's talk of cheerleaders, this presentation really did seem like a pep rally for the Stadium. With former L.A. Rams greats Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones sitting down front alongside the great Jim Brown and former USC Trojans Willie McGinest and Rodney Peete, Lakers legends Jerry West and Magic Johnson, Oscar de la Hoya dotting the audience, the talk of job creation was repeated.

As Leiweke said, ““This is about the community. It's not about AEG. It's not about the NFL. It's not even about conventions. It's about jobs.”

After a video presentation featuring workers who helped build L.A. Live, Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO talked about the jobs the stadium project would bring.

“In a historic recession where the construction industry is seeing unemployment rates as high as 50%, Farmers Field will create over 7,000 direct construction jobs,” Durazo said. As she listed the types of jobs that Farmers Field would produce - lighting technicians; stage hands; bartenders; security officers - “These are just a few of the 8,000-plus permanent jobs that Farmers Field will employ once built.”

There were plenty of back-slapping and posturing to go around, too. Durazo proclaimed, “I pledge to use all of our strength and resources to make this project a reality. Let's bring the jobs back to Los Angeles.”

Support for LAist comes from

So no tax money and more jobs. Sounds great, but why a naming rights agreement now?

“When you talk about the combination of it being in Downtown Los Angeles, the various events we are going to bring, the fact they are based here and the fact that it is bringing the NFL back, it becomes more compelling for a company like Farmers to be able to embrace that type of commitment,” AEG Global Partnerships President Todd Goldstein, whose team helped broker this deal, told me about this unprecedented agreement.

“If you sit here and realize the reason we've never been able to bring the NFL back to L.A. is we've never found a private economic model that works,” Leiweke said. “By getting the naming rights deal done what it shows is our ability to privatize the whole stadium that works. That's been the whole hitch here.

“What every owner is saying in the last three days, 'We finally feel like now we have a vision and a plan to bring the NFL back to L.A.”

While this pep rally was nice to witness - complete with a mock field for guests to enjoy late morning mimosas on - there are still plenty of hurdles for the project namely getting an NFL team to move.

“No one's going to break ground on a stadium without a team,” Casey Wasserman said. “A team is not going to commit to a stadium without it being certain of being built.”

And no team is going to think about any franchise movement until the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners get resolved. And with the threat of a lockout looming on the horizon, the goal of L.A. hosting Super Bowl L that was repeated all morning long could be dashed.

Basically it was a pretty presentation and all, but I won't believe anything until I am there at the press conference for the unveiling of Farmers Field.

Most Read