The eagerness to both bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles and to build a new stadium near downtown is at an all-time high. City Council has already voted unanimously in favor of the new deal, citing economic benefits as the main cause, and many of those living in the LA area would like a professional team back in their city.
A new stadium would take years to build. While there is nothing certain, a team would likely have to come to the city a few seasons before everything could be built. That could be a slight problem, seeing as the team would have no definitive stadium to play at. One would think USC's Memorial Coliseum would be a nice fit, but it may not be.
The Los Angeles Times had this interesting story regarding USC and their potential refusal to allow the new team to play at their home stadium. Here are a few of the highlights:
But with the city now moving to bring professional football back to L.A., USC could block efforts to have the new team play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the three to four years that a proposed football stadium would be under construction downtown.
City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, whose district includes the Coliseum, said that a USC administrator told him that the school intends to exercise the veto unless it receives a new "master lease" that would give the private university near-total control of the publicly owned stadium.
A USC spokesman said the administrator who spoke to Parks, Thomas Sayles, was traveling and not available for an interview. In emailed statements, Sayles, USC's senior vice president for university relations, said the school is "open to discussions on a mutually beneficial arrangement" regarding an NFL team.
The article continues...
Parks, who also sits on the Coliseum's governing commission, said he would oppose such a lease, believing that it would allow USC to keep other events out of the stadium, such as soccer games, Fourth of July celebrations and even a third Olympic Games. "I do not believe that I could realistically turn over a public facility to a private institution," he said.
But he added that "for some time we have believed that having a master lease is in the best long-term interests of the community and the university."
Would Southern California consider rejecting an NFL team's bid to play at the Coliseum? For a program that hasn't exactly had the best last few years in terms of both public and media relations, it probably is not a good idea to protest against a potential incoming team that has the support of both the city and its citizens.
Coliseum Commission President David Israel said he would be surprised if USC tried to deny the city an estimated tens of millions of dollars in annual business activity that would flow from a NFL-Coliseum partnership. If the Coliseum is ruled out, a new NFL team would most likely take up temporary residence at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a city that has remained on the sidelines in the most recent drive to bring a team to L.A.
"Is USC going to try to leverage something that could create a lot of jobs in the city of Los Angeles to their own ends?" Israel asked. "Is that a wise thing to do in the long term to their neighbors? I don't think it is."
One would have to agree with Mr. Israel. This is likely a ploy to get an extended lease and extra money by USC. A lot of funding would have to go around should a new NFL team move to Los Angeles and everyone would be looking to cash in on this opportunity, USC included. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's a business and a large profit is the ultimate goal.
An interesting story, though it is tough to imagine USC refusing to allow a new team to use their Coliseum while they wait for the new downtown stadium to be built.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Los Angeles for any and all breaking news surrounding the new football stadium.