The battle to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles has been raging among rich dudes for two decades now, since the Rams and Raiders left town in 1994, and in that time stadium plans have risen and stadium plans have fallen. For residents, an NFL stadium means lots of construction and traffic and tax handouts, not to mention an often-lifeless stadium, all in the service of a barbaric sports league that doesn't tend to make much money for any of its host cities, but for any company lucky/hungry enough to land a team, it means a lot of money, so no stadium plan will go down without a fight. The fighter today is AEG, which hopes to build a big old stadium right in Downtown LA; the city of LA has always loved the proposal and has bent over backwards to make it happen, but the notoriously controlling NFL was never a fan; meanwhile, in the past couple months, promising new stadium plans have been unveiled for both Inglewood and Carson, and both come with potential teams attached too.
AEG's deal with the city to build its Farmers Field expires on April 17, which leaves them very little time to reverse the rotation of the earth to a time before its plan completely fell apart. The stadium in Inglewood is being developed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke to go along with a massive multi-use redevelopment of the Hollywood Park racetrack and, to add insult to injury, would include an entertainment venue (it's also across from the refreshed Inglewood Forum). That kind of sports/entertainment complex could threaten AEG's existing sports/entertainment dominance at LA Live. Inglewood already has city approval and developers say they'll start work this year.
The Carson plan, cosponsored by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, is swiftly on its way to city approval; backers are collecting signatures to get it on the ballot, but once it has those, it could go right to a city council vote (this is the path the Inglewood plan took too and it's much faster than going through state-mandated environmental reviews).
And so now AEG is getting very, hilariously desperate:
— The LA Times reports that AEG's vice chairman called Carson's mayor last month to let him know that the Carson plan wouldn't be good for business at the StubHub Center, a sports complex in Carson owned by AEG." If you know what he means.
— AEG commissioned two reports claiming the Inglewood stadium will be highly deadly because it lies under the main approach route to LAX. For one, they paid the former head of the National Transportation Safety Board to write that "flaps or landing-gear doors detaching from airplanes" could fall near the stadium.
— For the other, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge took their money to write that a terrorist will almost definitely probably shoot down an airplane over the stadium to create what he calls a "terrorist event 'twofer.'"
— AEG also gave the LA Times "hundreds of pages of documents that detail complaints and litigation in 2001 involving a proposed stadium in Tempe, Ariz., near Sky Harbor International Airport," like total narcs.
— Bill Withycombe, a former top FAA official who oversaw the Tempe case, says this is all nonsense and that the Ridge report "struck me as a fictional scene from a Hollywood movie or the plot for a Tom Clancy novel … I think it's safe to assume most of the aviation community was either rolling their eyes or laughing it off."
· AEG, falling behind in fight for NFL stadium, takes the gloves off [LAT]
· Insecure NFL Stadium Developer Accuses Other NFL Stadium of Being a Terrorist Target [Curbed LA]
· Inglewood Approves NFL Stadium; Work Can Start This Year [Curbed LA]
· The Raiders and Chargers Just Proposed a Joint NFL Stadium in the Los Angeles Suburbs [Curbed LA]
· LA Might Drag Out Dead Attempt to Get NFL to Downtown [Curbed LA]