|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFL Magic Johnson officially announced his intention to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles. The former Lakers great appeared Tuesday night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and said he is formally joining a group that's planning to build a downtown Los Angeles stadium for the purpose of housing an NFL franchise, according to USA Today.
Johnson announced that he has teamed up with Tim Leiweke at AEG and they are going to come together to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) has proposed building an NFL stadium in downtown L.A., but the project is only at the conceptual stage.
No NFL team is set to move to Los Angeles right now. A San Diego Chargers attorney on Wednesday denied that AEG's Philip Anschutz is planning to buy 35 percent of the franchise. The Chargers recently announced that owner Alex Spanos is looking to sell a minority stake to help with estate planning. Spanos, 87, a billionaire developer who lives in Stockton, revealed two years ago that he suffers from dementia.
Lester Bagley, the Minnesota Vikings president of public affairs, also revealed this week that the team has been approached by two guys, one of them AEG -- about relocating to Los Angeles. But Bagley said the team does not plan to move. Despite being the nation's second-largest televison market, Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since both the Rams and Raiders left following the 1994 season.
One of the interested parties is AEG.
They are plotting a privately funded stadium near the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with or without a firm commitment from an NFL betting franchise. AEG is the largest owner of sports teams, stadiums, and entertainment events in the world.
The other is Ed Roski, a Los Angeles real estate billionaire, who has been in talks to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. Like AEG, Roski believes Los Angeles needs a stadium before it can work to get a team and he's willing to build it largely with his own money.
The Vikings are one of the teams being targeted by Los Angeles, because their lease in the 28-year-old Metrodome ends this year. The Vikings want a new stadium, but no such stadium exists and city and state won't commit to building one. A recent visit to LA by owner Zygi Wilf fueled further speculation, but he said he made the visit purely for inspiration on a new building in Minnesota. That doesn't sound credible.
Still, it's difficult to imagine the Vikings – a team with strong attendance that's one year removed from an NFC championship appearance – ending their 50-year run in Minnesota. This latest news will put pressure on the stadium construction process by subtly threatening a westward move.