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ANALYSIS

AEG non-sale is bad news for Farmers Field and NFL in L.A.

March 14, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • A rendition of Farmers Field.
A rendition of Farmers Field. (Los Angeles Times )

Like so many NFL stadium proposals in Southern California over the past two decades, Farmers Field too is history.

With Philip Anschutz hanging on to AEG, and Tim Leiweke leaving, a downtown stadium isn’t going to happen any time in the near future.

AEG: A look back

It was Leiweke who sold the concept, and he had to drag his boss along for the ride. The deal terms that Anschutz proposed were never appealing to the NFL or individual teams, and if history is a guide, Anschutz won’t be budging this time.

Anschutz felt burned by the league in 2002 when AEG proposed a stadium in South Park, on the other side of Staples Center, but pulled out quickly when the L.A. Coliseum jumped back into the competition. The NFL never discouraged any site from submitting a bid.

This time, with AEG up for sale, the flickering hope in NFL circles was that maybe whoever would buy the company would be willing to do a league-friendly deal. No such luck.

Farmers Field had been in a vegetative state since the AEG sale was announced, with everyone waiting for resolution on the ownership front.

But Anschutz is staying, and so -- almost certainly -- are his deal terms.

Photo gallery: AEG properties in Southern California

With the San Diego Chargers, for instance, Anschutz wanted 49% of the team for half-price -- $5 million per percentage point -- with a right of first refusal if Chargers owner Dean Spanos decided to sell his controlling interest in the team.

What's more, Anschutz wanted to use an arrangement similar to the one the Lakers have at Staples Center, in which the team is the tenant and AEG controls all the marketing, suite sales, etc.

The NFL calls that "asset stripping," and Anschutz (Leiweke, really) couldn't find a team that was interested in that. Teams don't want a middle man dealing with their premium customers; that’s one of the many benefits of owning an NFL team.

Anschutz has made billions of dollars buying low and selling high. The NFL doesn't sell low.

ALSO

AEG sale halted, Anschutz to maintain control

Photos: AEG properties in Southern California

AEG executive Tim Leiweke leaving post after sale halted

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