USC May Fumble LA's NFL Effort

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The University of Southern California may make bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles more difficult unless the city agrees to change its current lease and give up more control over the Coliseum.

    An NFL team may need to play in the facility while a new football stadium is being built downtown, which could take between three and four years.

    But Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks was notified by USC administrators that the school wants a new "master-lease" for the Coliseum that would give it near-total control over the facility and events.

    If it doesn't get it, it may leverage the veto power under its current lease to block the team from playing there.

    Talks about the master lease came up long before the NFL deal. In a statement, USC said such a lease would be "in the best long-term interests of the community and the university."

    USC said it wants to return the Coliseum to "its former glory and be the caretaker it deserves for future generations."

    As for the consideration of an NFL team, the university said, "we are open to discussions on a mutually beneficial arrangement."

    But Parks said he didn't believe it was in the city's best interest to turn over a public property to a private institution.

    Park's Chief of Staff, Bernard Parks, Jr. said the idea wouldn't be "palatable" to their constituents but added Los Angeles could lose millions in revenue if a team were to play elsewhere like the Pasadena Rose Bowl during construction.

    "Why should Pasadena benefit from all that work we did here?" Parks said.

    In addition, Parks said USC would gain the most if a team played in the Coliseum since AEG would invest between $20 to $50 million in improvements to accommodate the NFL.

    The maneuvering comes at an awkward time for the city.

    On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is part of a deal to build the $1.3 billion project.

    The proposal by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) calls for a 55-year lease and construction of a 72,000-seat football stadium and convention hall near the Staples Center.

    The agreement would only move forward though if AEG is able to get an NFL team to sign a long-term deal.

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