Anschutz group pulls plug on plan for LA team

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Billionaire backers poised to build a downtown stadium in an effort to lure a professional football team back to Los Angeles abruptly abandoned their plans Friday, according to published reports.

The Anschutz Entertainment Group said investors did not want to risk millions of dollars amid a recent $1 million bid by boosters of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to compete for a National Football League team, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News reported in Saturday's editions.

The Rose Bowl in neighboring Pasadena also is making an NFL bid.

"We made this pretty clear to the Coliseum from the start, and when we were told we might have a challenge and some competition, we said, `We wish you the best and if you do that we will get out,' and we're going to do that,'' Anschutz group president Tim Leiweke said.

"Unfortunately, this is just all too predictable, and the people who will lose are the football fans. We believe we had made great progress and were close to a deal with the NFL and that teams were interested,'' Leiweke added.

Although it had the backing of Mayor James K. Hahn, the new stadium plan drew criticism from lawmakers and others who feared taxpayer funds would be used to pay for the $450-million, 64,000-seat facility.

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