By JOE BEL BRUNO Staff Reporter
Randy Vataha is well aware of L.A.'s star-crossed relationship with professional football.
And he's undeterred by it.
The former New England Patriots wide receiver is planning to launch a spring football league next March with a team in L.A.
Vataha and partner Bob Caporale, who run the sports consulting firm Game Plan Inc. in Boston, are negotiating with Pasadena city officials to play 10 home games a year in the Rose Bowl.
"I know what everyone is thinking here comes another 'here today, gone tomorrow' spring football league," Vataha said. "(But) this is going to be different, and we're not going to repeat the mistakes of the past."
The blueprint for the proposed All-American Football League is to have teams in 12 of the top 25 television markets, each wholly owned by the league and funded centrally as a means of controlling costs.
Costs also will be controlled by placing strict limits on player salaries, and by soliciting sponsors to provide some of the equipment and supplies needed by the league.
Vataha said the All-American league has private investors lined up to pitch in half of the $80 million they'll need to start operations.
Credit Suisse First Boston Inc. is on board to advise on further financing options, as well as a possible public stock sale, he said.
A spokeswoman for the investment banking firm confirmed they were working with new league.
But will L.A. which lost both the NFL Raiders and Rams to other cities accept a minor-league alternative?
Former Rams kicker Danny Villanueva, who wants to get a franchise for a National Football League expansion team in Los Angeles, remains skeptical.
"I'm just not convinced about the prospects of that league in Los Angeles," said Villanueva, chairman of the Century City investment firm of Bastion Capital. "Los Angeles is not an easy city at best, as the Rams and the Raiders found out. Fans demand a competitive product on the field, and they aren't going to suffer through a loser very long."
Los Angeles has not been kind to new pro football franchises. Los Angeles has been home to at least seven professional teams none of which are left.
- The Rams moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland in 1946. They then jumpd to Anaheim Stadium in 1980, before moving to St. Louis in 1994.
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