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Pasadena Will Seek NFL Team

The City Council adopts negotiating points to woo the league to bring a team to the Rose Bowl.

May 15, 2003|Tina Daunt | Times Staff Writer

Joining Los Angeles and Carson in a race to lure the NFL back to the region, the Pasadena City Council has agreed to pursue a deal to bring a professional football team to the Rose Bowl.

Council members, voting 8 to 0 shortly before midnight Tuesday, adopted a set of negotiating points, clearing the way for investment banker John Moag to lobby the league on Pasadena's behalf. Any deal Moag negotiates will be nonbinding and still require city approval.

Moag, who was instrumental in moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, said he will give the council a progress report at its Monday meeting.

"We will be talking with the league with tremendous frequency over the next days and weeks," Moag said. "Hopefully, we will be able to reach a common ground."

Pasadena officials are asking the NFL's 32 team owners to consider the Rose Bowl proposal at their meeting in Philadelphia next week. If the league refuses to hear the city's plan, Pasadena will have to wait until September to make its pitch to the owners. The delay, city officials fear, would give competitors more time to lobby the NFL to place a team at the Los Angeles Coliseum or at a new stadium in Carson.

Moag said he began contacting NFL officials early Wednesday morning to get the ball rolling for the Rose Bowl.

"I know what the council would like to see; they have made that very clear," Moag said. "Now we sit down with the NFL. The owners have to be comfortable."

Pasadena officials reiterated to Moag that they want to preserve the historic character of the Rose Bowl, which was built 81 years ago. They want private investors to spend $500 million to refurbish the structure. And, complicating matters, the city seeks to maintain control of the stadium, but wants the NFL to pay for upkeep and repairs.

Finally, officials said, they want to make it clear to the league that the city will not spend any taxpayer money.

Meanwhile, caretakers of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum took steps Wednesday to make the stadium more attractive to professional football. In a unanimous vote, the Coliseum Commission approved a measure that would allow it to sublease the stadium to a third party, such as the NFL. Under a sublease agreement, the third party would be free to renovate, run stadium operations and collect event revenues.

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