What AEG Not Selling Means For The Future of Football in L.A.
Anschutz Entertainment Group will not be for sale and CEO Tim Leiweke will be stepping down, the Anschutz Company announced today in a press release.
"We appreciate the role Tim has played in the development of AEG, and thank him for the many contributions he has made to the Company. We wish him well in his new endeavors" said Chairman of AEG Philip Anschutz in the release. The reclusive 73-year old will take on a more active role while Chief Financial Officer Dan Beckerman will be the new President and Chief Executive Officer. Beckerman will also be the Governor of the Los Angeles Kings.
So what the hell does this mean?
It's no secret that Leiweke was the one who urged Anschutz to move forward on the Farmers Field project and trying to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. The talk last week thanks to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports was that Farmers Field was in jeopardy. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times and Arash Markazi of ESPN LA downplayed the story.
It brought me back to when Farmers Insurance and AEG held a press conference at the Convention Center to announce naming rights for the pending football stadium. Employees of Farmers Insurance were interspersed amongst us media lowlifes, and one of them sat right next to me. She was very excited about the NFL coming back to LA. "Aren't you excited about this," she asked.
"Look," I responded about to drop the hammer of reality back down on this day dream. "We've been down this route before. Until I see a shovel hit dirt, I'm not believing anything."
That's where we are at, and that's where we will always be here in Los Angeles. The Dodgers hire people that looks like a move to build a stadium up at Chavez Ravine? Hold on there bub.
The NFL has made no secret that Los Angeles is its own bully pulpit to extort tax money from cities in an effort to build brighter glittier stadia. Without Los Angeles, how will the NFL convince the poor folks in cities across the country to pony up hundreds of millions of dollar to keep their horse manure of a team? Hell, with the prices of NFL games most people can't even go to the games.
With Anschutz threatening to take a more active role in the company, this either means that he's gung ho about Farmers Field or he's done with it paying only lip service when he said in the statement, "Priority projects going forward include the development of Farmers Field adjacent to our L.A. Live campus and the pursuit of our plan to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles."
L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry told the L.A. Times that this move will strengthen LA's bid for an NFL team. Again, like I said before, let's not hold our collective breaths.
As for the Kings, Galaxy and other AEG sports properties, there really shouldn't be much change. We know how committed Anschutz is towards the Kings and MLS, so both teams should continue status quo.