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SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Colts owner says NFL team relocation to L.A. won't be cut-rate deal

The way Jim Irsay sees it, full price for a minority share is the way to go. AEG's stadium proposal calls for Philip Anschutz to acquire a minority share in a relocated team at a discount.

October 11, 2011|Sam Farmer
  • Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says the backers of two Southern California-based stadium projects likely would have to pay full price for a minority share in a relocated team.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says the backers of two Southern California-based… (A.J. Mast / Associated Press )

From Houston — Dear Los Angeles, an NFL team won't come cheap.

That was the message Tuesday of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay when asked to compare the competing stadium proposals for the L.A. area.

The downtown stadium proposal calls for AEG's Philip Anschutz to acquire a minority share of a team at a discount. Ed Roski, pushing for a venue in City of Industry, has dropped his bid to trade stadium land for a no-cash piece of a team and now is offering to pay full price for a minority share.

The way Irsay sees it — and several NFL owners echoed his sentiments off the record — full price is the only way to go.

Even though the Colts are staying put in Indianapolis, the sales price for a minority share matters to Irsay because that helps establish the value of a franchise. Just as he wouldn't be in favor of his neighbor selling his home for half price, Irsay doesn't want a fellow owner selling for a cut rate.

"The bottom line is, if an owner's going to go in there, and if he's going to sell 10% or 20%, he's not going to sell it for $5 million a point," Irsay said, referring to the deal AEG is believed to be seeking. That would represent half price for a franchise with a valuation of $1 billion.

"I think it could be a tremendous deal. I've always said that if it's done the right way it's going to be a great deal. But I think things have fallen apart there in the past because, quite frankly … no one's going to steal a minority interest for an outrageous price."

Irsay added that "there's been a feeling like we're going to steal a deal because we're L.A. and we're such a big market, and you have to come here. …

"A team may benefit, but it's not like a team can't exist where they are. It's not like a team in hockey or baseball that's just dying on the vine and so desperate that they have to come. So we'll see."

Representatives from AEG declined to comment on Irsay's remarks, which came during a break at the annual fall owners meetings.

It's in the NFL's best interest, of course, to have as many viable options as possible in the L.A. market, thereby allowing a relocating team to negotiate the best possible agreement.

In their one-day meeting, owners were updated on all stadium initiatives, including the L.A. situation.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is going to evaluate both of the stadium proposals "aggressively" while emphasizing the league won't be rushed.

"We're not going to be forced to take a deal that doesn't work," Goodell said. "That's true for both parties. I don't think Los Angeles is going to take a deal that doesn't work for them, either. The agreement's going to have to work for all parties."

Cardinals country

The NFL awarded the 2015 Super Bowl to Arizona, awarding it the game over Tampa, Fla., on the second ballot.

It will be the second Super Bowl hosted by University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the first being the New York Giants' victory over New England in 2008. Tempe, Ariz., played host to the game in 1996, when Dallas defeated Pittsburgh. Tampa has been Super Bowl host four times: 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2009.

Across the pond

There will be more games in the United Kingdom in the years to come. Owners approved a resolution to play regular-season games in Britain through 2016. Teams can volunteer to play at least one home game per year there, up to five years in a row. That means teams that have a tough time selling out their home stadiums might opt to play a game overseas, and there are financial incentives from the league to entice them to do so.

Tampa Bay will play host to Chicago on Oct. 23 in London, the fifth consecutive year the NFL has played there. No future matchups have been announced.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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