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Official: NFL to play in Los Angeles next season

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  • Official: NFL to play in Los Angeles next season

    INDUSTRY - Developer Ed Roski Jr.'s business partner says he has "no doubt" a National Football League team will play in Los Angeles in 2009, most likely at the Rose Bowl. Majestic Realty Vice President John Semcken also said he believes there is a possibility two NFL teams could wind up playing in the $800 million stadium Roski wants to build in Industry.
    "We are going to have a team here next September," Semcken said Tuesday afternoon.
    "I personally believe, yes," two teams will come to L.A., he said. "Because the economics are so (good). All I want is one. All our analysis is based on one. If a second team came it would just be a tenant. We're only going to own one."
    Roski is a billionaire listed in the Forbes 500 list of the world's richest people. He is president of Industry-based Majestic Realty, part-owner of the NBA's Lakers and NHL's Kings, and co-owner of the Staples Center.
    In April, Roski unveiled his plan to build a state-of-the-art football stadium and entertainment complex on a 600-acre plot of land that was previously slated for commercial and retail use.
    The anticipated stadium pricetag of $800 million would be about $1 billion less than was spent on the new home of the New York Giants and Jets, Semcken said.
    Roski wants to buy a controlling interest in an NFL team and move it to his new stadium, planned to be built near the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeways. Semcken said that Roski has a "handshake deal" with

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    Rose Bowl officials to allow an NFL team to play in Pasadena for two seasons, until his new stadium is finished. Semcken also said NFL executives asked him to make sure the stadium and its training facilities could accommodate two teams.
    "Every owner I have talked to is interested in coming," Semcken said. "The idea of moving here is like Nirvana to them."
    NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the league has long identified the Los Angeles region as a two-team market.
    The L.A. area has been home to two pro football teams before. The NFL's Rams and the American Football League's Chargers both played in Los Angeles in 1960. When the Rams moved to Anaheim in 1980, it opened the way for the Raiders to move to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from Oakland. They did so in 1982.
    Both the Rams and Raiders played in Southern California through the 1994 season, when the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland.
    "It doesn't mean that we will have two teams there next season, but we have looked at an option that would provide flexibility so that should we have a team there someday. The site could also accommodate another team," McCarthy said.
    Seven teams have expressed interest coming to Roski's stadium, but Semcken declined to name them. He said identifying teams could hurt ticket sales in their current stadiums.
    In April, Roski listed the New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers as teams that might move to L.A. and his new stadium.
    If a team agrees to move and Roski acquires at least part ownership, Semcken said it would play at the Rose Bowl for two seasons while the Industry site is developed. The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2011 season.
    Semcken said an NFL team playing in the Rose Bowl would not negatively impact UCLA, which is the Rose Bowl's main tenant.
    "We've had just very preliminary talks so far," said Darryl Dunn, general manager of the Rose Bowl. "We are definitely interested in anything that could bring in revenue."
    Any agreement the NFL reaches would need to be approved by the Rose Bowl officials, Pasadena and UCLA, Dunn said. UCLA officials did not return calls Wednesday.
    "The Rose Bowl Operating Company does not have a handshake deal with Majestic Realty for an NFL team," said Charles Thompson, spokesman for the Rose Bowl Operating Company.
    Bringing an NFL team to Pasadena - even temporarily - would require community and council support, said Pasadena city spokeswoman Ann Erdman.
    In 2006, Pasadena voters rejected Measure A, which would have allowed the NFL to renovate the stadium for NFL purposes.
    "As it stands now, the stadium is not NFL ready," Erdman said. "So, therefore, should there sometime in the future be a major renovation to make it NFL ready, there would be many, many processes to go through."
    Norman Parker, president of the Linda Vista/Annandale Association, said that the community has had a fine relationship with Rose Bowl management.
    "For a couple of years, we could manage with (an NFL team) quite well, and the Rose Bowl would get some well-needed revenue," Parker said. "We look forward to working with them."
    Roski's Los Angeles Stadium would seat 75,000 fans, have 175 suites, could have up to 5 million square feet available for commercial use, and provide nearly 6,000 jobs.