AEG, city officials to announce venue plans Tuesday
Exclusive: Los Angeles might not yet have an NFL team, but it does have a stadium name.At a press conference Tuesday morning, local politicians and NFL officials will announce that the city’s proposed downtown football venue will be called Farmers Field. As first reported by Variety on Monday, naming rights have been bought by Farmers Insurance Co. Deal is for $600 million and encompass a 30-year term, according to Sports Business Daily. Some observers close to the deal pegged it as the largest naming-rights pact in sports to date. The possibility of a Farmers-NFL connection in L.A. was first reported earlier this month by Sports Illustrated writer Peter King. If the project goes forward, the venue will be built on the site that is currently the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The stadium would be owned by AEG, led by media mogul Philip Anschutz and president Tim Leiweke. Both have long wanted to land an NFL team in Los Angeles and have always suggested that its L.A. Live complex is a prime location. Los Angeles has been without a football team since 1994, when the Los Angeles Raiders moved back to Oakland. There has been talk ever since in having a team move back to the country’s second-largest television market, but nothing has ever come to fruition. There were efforts in both Irwindale and Inglewood — where Hollywood Park racetrack currently stands — to build a stadium, yet those plans never moved forward. Depending on how quickly the financing comes together, the stadium, which would have a retractable roof, could be complete as soon 2015 or as late as 2018. Among those attending Tuesday’s news conference will be Leiweke, Casey Wasserman, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Laker great Magic Johnson, who sold part of his stake in the Lakers in order to be a possible participant in a Los Angeles-based NFL team. Teams that have been discussed moving to L.A. include the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. AEG’s L.A. Live complex, adjacent to the convention center, includes Staples Center and the Nokia Theater. Farmers Insurance has been ponying more sponsorship coin in and around L.A. recently, inking a three-year title sponsorship deal with the Southern California Tennis Assn. that renamed the ATP World Tour 250 the Farmers Classic through 2012. Event is held at UCLA. Company also stepped in to serve as the title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s San Diego golf tournament through 2014, replacing longtime sponsor Buick. Event, which was held this past weekend at Torrey Pines, aired on CBS. (Marc Graser contributed to this report.)
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