When the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce last week asked the city to hold on to the idea of temporarily hosting an NFL team at the Rose Bowl, it was because the city and local businesses might really profit. Not all residents are convinced, however.
“For our businesses, especially the hospitality businesses here, it could be a big windfall,” said Paul Little, chief executive of the Pasadena chamber. “Hotels and restaurants benefit from any activity in the Rose Bowl.”
In a study commissioned by the Tournament of Roses, economists said that the Bowl Championship Series’ championship football game at the Rose Bowl in 2010 funneled more that $82 million into the area economy.
While that number is much higher than what could be expected from a typical National Football League game, city officials said they still believe there’s big potential for the local economy.
“It would have a significant impact on a couple of levels, one being direct revenue to the Rose Bowl for the use of the stadium,” said Steve Mermell, assistant city manager of Pasadena. “Then, of course, the city economy would pick up from people booking hotel rooms, and shopping and eating locally.”
The city of Pasadena controls the Rose Bowl Operating Co. and profits from a robust events schedule.
But most important, officials agree, is the benefit that an NFL deal could bring to the Rose Bowl, which is undergoing a $152 million renovation.
City officials said the revenue from a deal with the NFL could help cover a $20 million gap in the budget for the renovations, as well as fund city services in lean years.
The deal that could make an NFL team a temporary tenant of the Rose Bowl could still be a distant dream, however. Pasadena city officials have been exploring the possibility of hosting an NFL team at the Rose Bowl for months. Developers in both downtown Los Angeles and the City of Industry are vying for an NFL franchise, but the league has said no teams will move to Los Angeles for the 2012 season. Construction on a stadium to host a team would not begin until a franchise is secured, and would take several years to complete. The Rose Bowl could serve as the team’s temporary home.
When local residents got wind of the proposal, they voiced concerns that additional events at the stadium and the surrounding grounds would only increase local traffic, and create more noise and trash problems.
But the chamber said it’s too early to conclude that the costs and inconveniences of hosting an NFL team might outweigh potential benefits.
“It’s all supposition at this point,” Little said. “There is no deal on the table, no team coming. Without knowing what any of the impacts might be, positive or negative, it’s shortsighted to preclude the opportunity.”
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