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Decisions Remain for Carson Facility

July 10, 2002|LANCE PUGMIRE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the Home Depot National Training Center in Carson for being "a facility of inclusion" during the Tuesday news conference called to formally announce a 10-year, $70-million naming rights deal.

Sorting through the list of possible organizations and events the 85-acre, $130-million center can include is a significant part of the decisions still in front of Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke before the center's scheduled June 2003 opening on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Another round of options was raised Tuesday. AVP beach volleyball Commissioner Leonard Armato confirmed he will resume discussions with Leiweke next week regarding the center's availability for use as AVP headquarters, training facility and site of a tour event that could include international players.

"I would assume AEG would think this is a great fit, given that beach volleyball is an Olympic sport the U.S. is successful in [gold medals in 1996 and 2000], and that the sport traces its origins to Southern California ... ," Armato said.

Leiweke said he is in negotiations to bring international soccer matches to the center, which will be equipped with a 27,000-seat soccer stadium and five training fields. The center also is set to be the home of a WUSA team should leaders of the struggling women's soccer league choose to expand to the Los Angeles market.

USA Track and Field President Craig Masback said his organization has committed to adding the center as a stop on its Golden Spike Tour that includes elite events such as the Millrose Games in New York and Prefontaine Classic in Oregon.

Leiweke repeated his intention to bring the International Assn. of Athletics Federations world championships and World Cup of track and field to the center's 30,000-seat track stadium within 10 years. He also promised USA Cycling Chief Executive Gerard Bisceglia that the center's velodrome will play host to cycling's World Cup and world championships.

"You kids, this is your home, and we'll bring it here," Leiweke said to a group of U.S. Olympians who attended the ceremony. He added, "I'm not sure how much saying that just cost us."

AEG sources have estimated another $100 million will be required to secure the kind of events they intend to bring to the center.

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