As part of today's AEG press event to announce naming rights for its proposed NFL stadium, a mini-football field (seen above) was created on part of the LA Convention Center. The fake field gave attendees celebrating the reported $700 million Farmers Field deal a place to sip mimosas and catch a glimpse of the Farmers Insurance blimp said to be circling above.
If the guys in suits looked pleased at today's announcement, some of the local reporters who've now attended three or four AEG events on this stadium in just as many months, looked a little anxious. Maybe because--besides the naming rights deal---what's new to write about this stadium proposal? After all, there's no deal with the city yet, nor one with the NFL.
Still, the NFL, which has to hammer out a Collective Bargaining Agreement with its players before any announcement over LA can be made, was watching today's events. Asked if the Farmers naming rights gave the AEG stadium a leg up over Majestic--which also has a stadium bun in the oven-- Greg Aiello, Senior Vice President of Public Relations at the NFL, told us: “We’re not viewing it that way.” But he called the naming rights a "positive" move and congratulated both parties. And he was diplomatic about both Majestic's and AEG's proposed stadiums, and gave no indication of any favoritism. “There are two viable stadiums in Los Angeles area, and we are following both."
Meanwhile, everyone from City Councilwoman Jan Perry to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to downtown business leader Carol Schatz appeared at today's event to tout the stadium. And hey, even Austin Beutner, our city's economic czar, got on the stage, saying it was a "privilege to be part" of the naming event. (Farmers wants to get its name out there with this deal, but so likely too does Beutner, who is considering a possible mayor run.)
Meanwhile, in his comments during the event, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke responded to those who've been dubious about the stadium. While not addressing anyone in particular, he said: “It's easy to throw darts, it's easy to tear down, it's easy to cast fear." (Speaking of, a web site condensing all those anti-downtown stadium videos has been found. But as of today, AEG now has a competing web site.)
Meanwhile, if a stadium architect still hasn't been picked (three are in the running), here's one design that's finalized: The Farmers Field logo. It was created both by AEG's in-house design team and Farmers, according to Francesca Leiweke, who holds the optimistic-sounding title of "director of NFL-LA for AEG." (She's also Leiweke’s daughter). Yes, red was the obvious choice of color for the logo, she said, given that red is also color of the logo of Farmers Insurance.
· AEG NFL Stadium Archives [Curbed LA]