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Pasadena studies letting NFL use Rose Bowl temporarily

City leaders and the company that manages the stadium have agreed to move forward with a traffic study to measure the effect of hosting a pro team for two or three years.

October 21, 2011|By Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
  • Dianne Jacobs of Alabama cheers outside the Rose Bowl in 2010. Pasadena officials say a short-term deal with the NFL could bring millions of dollars to help plug a $16-million shortfall in the stadium's ongoing $152-million renovation.
Dianne Jacobs of Alabama cheers outside the Rose Bowl in 2010. Pasadena… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

As community leaders try to lure professional football back to Los Angeles, officials in Pasadena are trying to determine whether the city could profit by offering the Rose Bowl as a temporary home to the NFL.

Pasadena and NFL officials have discussed using the Rose Bowl as a venue for a football team while a permanent stadium is being built –- possibly in downtown L.A. or the City of Industry. A team might play its home games at the stadium for two or three years under the scenario.

City leaders and the Rose Bowl Operating Co., which manages the stadium, have agreed to move forward with a traffic study to measure the effect of hosting a pro team.

A short-term deal could bring the Rose Bowl millions of dollars, helping plug a $16-million shortfall in the ongoing $152-million stadium renovation, officials said.

The study would measure traffic near the Rose Bowl over a four-day period, including the Oct. 29 matchup between UCLA and UC Berkeley. The Bruins have played their home games for years at the stadium. The study is expected to be completed in December.

Pasadena officials emphasized that the traffic study is only a preliminary step because no team has committed to move to Los Angeles, and neither of the proposed stadiums has been built.

Rose Bowl Operating Co. President Darryl Dunn said his organization has not estimated the revenue from a possible two- or three-year deal to host at least 10 NFL games a year, but said it could help pay for the Rose Bowl modernization effort.

The improvements at the historic stadium include widened tunnels, luxury and premium seating inside a refurbished press box, a video board 2 1/2 times larger than the current one and a 1940s-style scoreboard in the stadium's south end.

UCLA extended its stadium lease to 2042, and the Rose Bowl game is to be played in Pasadena through at least 2043.

But opening the stadium to a professional team has long been a sore point among some Pasadena residents.

Several years ago, the NFL considered making the Rose Bowl the permanent home field for a pro team and Pasadena leaders put the proposal on the ballot in 2006. Nearly 75% of voters opposed the idea.

Pasadena resident Jennifer Steinwedell was among those who voted against that plan, and said she would do so again, even if it meant hosting a team only on a temporary basis. There is no indication the matter would come up for a public vote, however.

"It would clog the area with traffic," she said. "If we had an NFL team, all kinds of people would be coming."

Claudia Adkins of Altadena took a different view.

"I would just love it," she said. "It would bring more jobs, money and more activity to the area."

Lee Zanteson, president of the homeowners group in the area adjacent to the Rose Bowl, said members of the Linda Vista-Annandale Assn. voted in August to oppose an NFL deal.

"Having that much traffic is going to decrease home values in our area," Zanteson said. "But we're just a gnat buzzing around. They'll eventually swat us."

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