JOE BEL BRUNO
In 1984, David Simon's life was consumed with throwing the largest sporting event in Los Angeles' history the Olympic games.
As vice president of government relations for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Simon's job was to cut through red tape and make sure events went off in various parts of the region without a hitch. The experience would become a precursor to what would become Simon's career as president of the Los Angeles Sports Council.
The organization, which has a paid staff of 12 and is privately-financed through membership fees and event revenues, helps facilitate bids on national sporting events from NCAA tournaments to major league all-star games. That job has been made more difficult by L.A.'s loss of two National Football League franchises and by what critics call a lack of modern sports facilities.
Q: Your job is to bring national sports events to Los Angeles. Will that be easier if a new football stadium is built in a new location, instead of rebuilding the Coliseum?
A: As soon as we have a football stadium, I think the location will be irrelevant. The reason is that unlike people deciding where to put on a convention, those deciding on sporting events are concerned with only the day of the game. The secondary consideration is what else is there to do in the area and Los Angeles is very favorable there. They want the best field to play on, and aren't concerned so much where the facility is located. The reality is that the NFL is going to decide where football is being played in Los Angeles.
Q: What about the possibility of building a new football facility at Dodger Stadium as Peter O'Malley proposed last summer. From a marketing standpoint, would that be a good concept?
A: That's a hard question because right now the city is backing the Coliseum. Everyone has said they will withdraw their efforts until the Coliseum has reached their conclusion. If there was to be a second choice, I think there would be a lot of attractive things about building near Dodger Stadium. The fact that you already have a history of staging sporting events there, and that the land is available, are positives. Also, having a class-act like Peter O'Malley running the operation would be positive. But, there are still other options as well at the Convention Center and in Inglewood.
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