As was widely predicted, the Los Angeles City Council has approved plans to build a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The actual construction of Farmers Field now rests on convincing an NFL team to relocate there.
The unanimous vote came on Friday following presentations by stadium developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) that featured appearances by athletes Rodney Peete and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The plan includes a football stadium and a reconfiguration of the LA Convention Center. AEG is privately financing the $1.5 billion project, but the city of Los Angeles will help by issuing a complicated series of bonds. According to reports, the City Council believes its also necessary to approve a “resolution enthusiastically endorsing” Farmers Field and inviting the NFL to visit downtown Los Angeles.
AEG’s chief Tim Leiweke said, Our commitment is, we are going to now work harder at getting this done. We’re going to find not only a team, but I believe we’re going to have a chance to get two teams.”
Councilman Richard Alarcon said, “We have to find the reasons to inspire our young people and to many tens of thousands of people in our region, that is sports. The fact that we don’t have a football team in Los Angeles – honestly we’ve done OK, but I believe we have the potential to inspire tens of thousands more to stay just afloat until they finally figure out that education is what they want to achieve.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said the vote was the most “important political decision” of his career.