Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farmer's Field, Downtown Los Angeles

We're less than 48 hours away from my surgery, so I don't have much time to pen a lengthy analysis of what just happened today. However, I did want to acknowledge what took place.

An assortment of dignitaries were on hand today in Downtown Los Angeles for a formal announcement that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) was officially planning a billion dollar facility to be located adjacent to the Staples Center and L.A. Live! The explicit objective is to acquire one or two NFL franchises. The stadium will be titled Farmers' Field. Farmers insurance will pay $700 million plus for the naming rights if there is one NFL team in residence. They will pay close to $950 million if there are two NFL teams in residence.

Two teams are considered a serious possibility at this point, and there is a consensus that neither will be the Vikings or the Jaguars. The odds-on money favorites are the Chargers and the Rams.

Both Tim Leiweke and Casey Wasserman were available for extensive radio interviews after the fact. Both claim that the NFL is completely in favor of putting one or two teams in the city of Los Angeles, and would like to do so before Super Bowl 50 so that 50th anniversary Super Bowl can be played where it all got started.

The most important thing was the galvanic reaction that happened on 570 AM 710 AM and 1090 AM. The first two stations the Fox Sports and ESPN affiliates here in Los Angeles. 1090 is an independent sports station, and the voice of San Diego.

As you know, I have been bullish on the return of the Rams ever since Georgia died. I have smelt a return for multiple reasons, the most important reason being Stan Kroenke's eternal participation in the L.A. stadium committee and the rapid response by local entrepreneurs to Georgia's death.

However, I was just about the only one back in 2008-2009. At that time, no serious sports caster on TV or Radio in our local market believed that the NFL was returning to the Southland in the foreseeable future. This attitude began to change gradually as evidence accumulated. Still, I would say the official position of the Los Angeles jock-o-ratti was one of skepticism.

Now the situation has officially changed. The sports casters in this region are now officially fired up, and they are rallying the people. I think there is now a great sense of expectancy and excitement about what is happening.

On the other hand, the attitude of the San Diego media is grim, serious, and sober. They are now officially worried that the Chargers will split town unless something is done very, very, very soon to break ground on a new state-of-the-art facility.

Probably the most amazing thing I heard said during the entire day was this: Super Bowl XXXII was played in Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego on January 25, 1998. Since then, there has not been a Super Bowl in California. There won't be either.

All of the facilities in California are now officially 3rd rate out-dated and out-moded scrap heaps. Candlestick has long been considered the worst facility in the league. Right behind it is the decrepit Oakland County Coliseum. Both the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum in Los Angeles are great historical landmarks, but they are far from the first rate facilities in this era of Cowboy Stadium.

If AEG goes through with this construction project, Los Angeles will have the greatest sports facility west of Dallas. That is exciting as all get out.