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Is Roski Near Goal Line for L.A. Football Team?

Los Angeles real estate developer Ed Roski Jr.’s plan to build a National Football League stadium in the City of Industry could be the winning ticket, one expert said.

Roski opened his playbook last week for the National Football League, unveiling his plans to build a stadium in the City of Industry on the condition that a team is committed to move. Construction could be completed as early as 2011.

Roski, part owner of the Lakers and Kings and owner of City of Industry-based Majestic Realty Corp., wants the team to play on a 600-acre site near the junction of the Orange (57) and Pomona (60) freeways. Dubbed Los Angeles Stadium, it would seat 75,000 people and have 175 suites. Plans include 2.9 million square feet of office and retail space next door. An environmental impact report has been completed.

“It’s a great site location with freeway and public transportation access,” said Jeff Marks, chief operating officer for Los Angeles-based Premier Partnerships.

Marks, who has worked on several NFL Los Angeles-related projects over the years, believes Roski’s site has all the ingredients for success.

“The proposal has the economic components that should satisfy NFL owners,” he said, noting that the plan calls for corporate sponsorship concepts that will be a perfect fit for the new stadium in this marketplace.

Some of those concepts include making the stadium one of the most technologically advanced in the country. Mobile technology could give fans what’s called a cashless experience.

Furthermore, Los Angeles Stadium would almost certainly command one of the largest naming rights deals in history, exceeding the $400 million that CitiGroup Inc. paid for naming rights to the New York Mets’ ballpark that opens in 2009 to replace Shea Stadium.

But finding that partner would be a necessity since Roski plans to build the stadium without public funds. As Roski was preparing to announce his plans last week, state lawmakers pulled back a proposal to divert $829 million of property tax revenue to development projects for the City of Industry.

Many efforts to relocate a team have been attempted following the departures of the Raiders and Rams in 1995. In order for Roski to succeed with this proposal, he will likely have to purchase a team or convince a current owner to move to Los Angeles. Prospects include the Minnesota Vikings, where officials aren’t willing to use public funds for a stadium, and a few other franchises.

The L.A. market has remained little more than a bargaining chip for NFL owners negotiating stadium deals for their cities. Roski and Eli Broad tried to bring a team to L.A. in 1999, but the league awarded the franchise to Houston instead.

The big question is whether or not Roski can succeed where so many others have failed. Many people believe that the NFL does not make Los Angeles one of its top priorities, but it’s the second-largest market in the country. Plus, it has one of the largest Latino markets in the country, a growing fan base for the NFL.

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