LA's football fans will have to put their foam fingers away for another year: today's the last day for NFL teams to signal their interest in relocating to LA (and, presumably, to the approved-but-unbuilt-and-for-sale Farmers Field), and ABC reports that no franchise is expected to do so. While not a surprise given the events of the past few months, it's really quite a turnaround from the heady early days of LA's most recent campaign to bring football back to town--back in 2011, Farmers Field developer AEG sold the naming rights to the proposed NFL stadium Downtown before the city had even given the go-ahead to build the thing. And when the City Council did approve the project in September last year, they not only did so unanimously, but they also felt it necessary to pass a resolution "enthusiastically endorsing" the stadium development. Why necessary? Because there was already trouble in Farmville.
Earlier in September, AEG owner Philip Anschutz had put the company up for sale. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he'd been assured by Anschutz that the impending sale would have no bearing on football coming to town, but last month AEG president Tim Leiweke admitted that uncertainty surrounding the company--and therefore Farmers Field--was likely scaring off prospective teams. Then in October came word that the NFL had serious doubts about Farmers and really wanted a stadium in Chavez Ravine (currently home to Dodger Stadium).
Construction of Farmers is dependent on a team agreeing to move to LA, so that's now on hold. As for AEG's future, Leiweke said in an interview at the start of the year that the company had a dozen suitors and that he hoped a deal would be done by April. And if not, maybe that proposed stadium in the City of Industry will start to look more attractive to football boosters.
· NFL stadium in downtown LA not happening soon [ABC7]
· Football Teams Seem Nervous About Moving to Downtown LA [Curbed LA]