Monday, June 13, 2011

LA group talks to Rams, other teams


The Rams are one of five NFL teams that have been contacted about 
possibly moving to Los Angeles, according to a report out of Southern 

Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive of the Anschutz Entertainment 
Group, which is negotiating a lease for property on which a stadium 
would be built in downtown LA, told the Orange County Register that he 
had spoken with representatives of the Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, 
Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.

Although he indicated that his talks with the Rams and Jaguars hadn't 
been extensive, Leiweke said all five teams were "in the mix." But, he 
added, "We're not packing any (moving) vans right now."

Leiweke indicated that AEG would be willing to put up the funds to 
terminate a team's current stadium lease. As an example, he cited the 
$24 million payment that would be required to get the Chargers out of 

Under terms of their lease, the Rams could be free to leave St. Louis 
after the 2014 season if stadium upgrades aren't completed.

Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff said the team's focus "is on 
forging a new labor agreement with the players. However, (owner) Stan 
Kroenke has made it perfectly clear that he's focused on working on a 
lease with the city of St. Louis. He's been consistent in that viewpoint 
since becoming the controlling owner last August."

AEG owner Philip Anschutz, a multi-billionaire, is prepared to purchase 
a majority stake in an NFL team for the new stadium, according to 
Leiweke. Kroenke has indicated no desire to sell and has said repeatedly 
that his goal is to keep the team in St. Louis.

"We look forward to sitting down with the city for further discussions 
once the new labor agreement is reached," Demoff said.

Attempts on Friday to reach Kroenke for comment were unsuccessful.

AEG plans to build a $1 billion, 72,000-seat stadium adjacent to the Los 
Angeles Convention Center. Also, real estate mogul Ed Roski has permits 
for a 75,000-seat stadium about 15 miles east of Los Angeles, in the 
city of Industry. Roski also has not secured a team.

Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani told the Associated Press that the team 
is in frequent contact with Leiweke concerning unrelated business but 
that a move to Los Angeles had not been discussed. Fabiani also said 
that Chargers owner Alex Spanos and his family were not interested in 
relinquishing their majority share of the team.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment to the Associated Press 
on whether the league was aware of team discussions with AEG. "Teams are 
permitted to talk to third parties," McCarthy said in a statement.