LOS ANGELES — The head of the sports and entertainment firm that wants to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles has been in talks with officials from five pro football teams about the proposed venue, a company official said Friday.
Anschutz Entertainment Group President and CEO Tim Leiweke has spoken with representatives from the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, company spokesman Michael Roth told The Associated Press.
Leiweke said all those teams are “in the mix,” but conceded, “We’re not packing any (moving) vans right now,” according to the Orange County Register, which was first to report on the talks.
The most recent discussion took place a week ago, said Leiweke, who didn’t specify which team was involved.
Leiweke also told the Register that AEG owner Philip Anschutz was prepared to acquire a majority stake in an NFL team that would play at the proposed venue and that the company was willing to pay for a team to get out of its current lease.
Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani told the AP that the team is in frequent contact with Leiweke concerning unrelated business, but that a move to Los Angeles has not been discussed.
He stressed that Chargers owner Alex Spanos and his family were not interested in relinquishing a majority stake of the team.
The family recently terminated an agreement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to shop around a stake in the team they considered selling to reduce the 87-year-old Spanos’ estate tax liability upon his death, Fabiani said.
“So if AEG is seeking a majority stake in a team, it would probably be best for AEG to cross the Chargers off its wish list,” he said.
Raiders CEO Amy Trask said in a statement through spokesman John Herrera that the franchise would remain with the family of owner Al Davis.
“The team is not for sale,” Trask said.
Herrera had no comment on whether a move would be contemplated if Davis retained ownership.
Messages left with the Vikings, Rams and Jaguars were not returned.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment on whether the league was aware of team discussions with AEG.
“Teams are permitted to talk to third parties,” McCarthy said in a statement.
AEG’s $1 billion plan for a 72,000-seat stadium on part of the city’s convention center campus is one of two competing proposals that aim to bring pro football back to Los Angeles 15 years after the Rams and Raiders left the nation’s second-largest market within months of one another.
Warehouse magnate Ed Roski has permits in place to build a separate 75,000-seat stadium about 15 miles east of Los Angeles, in the city of Industry, but has also not secured a team.
Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com