The Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company behind a proposed $1.5 billion pro football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, is up for sale.In addition to being the driving force behind bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles, AEG owns the LA Kings, LA Galaxy, a portion of the LA Lakers, the Staples centre, and a number of other sports teams and entertainment venues around the world.
This is either great news or terrible news for the chances of bringing an NFL team back to LA, depending on who you ask.
On the one hand, as Arash Markazi of ESPN has pointed out, the sale injects uncertainty into a plan that is still relatively far from completion. It has taken a ton cooperation from both AEG and the city to get this close to building a stadium and securing a team. And the fact that many of the key negotiators won’t be involved in the talks at this critical juncture clouds the picture.
But there’s also reason for optimism.
First of all, the city and AEG are both saying that the sale won’t affect the stadium, and that the commitments AEG made to the city will still stand when ownership changes hands.
In addition, there’s an argument to be made that a new owner of AEG is exactly what is necessary to bring an NFL team to LA.
Before they can even start work on that $1.5 billion stadium, AEG needs to strike a deal with an NFL team to guarantee that the stadium has a tenant. But AEG has be unable to do that under its current ownership, reportedly because NFL owners are balking at AEG’s insistence that it controls things like ticket sales and merchandising.
Yahoo!’s Jason Cole described what AEG wanted as a landlord-tenant relationship, which is unprecedented in the NFL.
In short, a new owner with a softer stance on those issues could make bringing a team to LA a whole lot easier.
So while the sale does raise some questions, this actually might end up being a good thing for football in LA.
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