Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) can add a Stanley Cup to their list of Downtown Los Angeles sports holdings, which include the LA Kings, the Staples Center and the restaurants and venues that surround it, vindicating the company that purchased the Kings while it was in bankruptcy.
“When I arrived, I had a news conference and said we would win the Stanley Cup," said AEG president Tim Leiweke said during the team's downtown victory celebration Thursday. "Now, I’m whole.”
In 1995, AEG purchased the Kings for what now seems a paltry $113 million.
“It was so bad you could hear the phones ring in the press box,” said longtime fan Michael Gonzalez, referring to the empty arena the Kings played for prior to their historic finals run and Stanley Cup victory.
Billionaire Phillip Anschutz and his point man Leiweke knew the cold weather sport could work in a city that never sees ice, but sees plenty of transplants with heavy winter jackets and skates packed away. Not to mention natives who find the action irresistible.
AEG also owns the Galaxy, which has already won three soccer championships and expanded the support base for a sport that seems destined to grow in popularity.
But there is one piece of the puzzle that AEG desperately wants to fall into place: the company's Farmers Field proposal and the vision of an NFL team back in the city, playing right near all the other AEG properties.
Kings hockey announcer Bob MIller can see beyond the ice.
"The NFL looks around and here's someone who's been successful in every venture in LA , and let 'em build that football stadium,” Miller said. "Problem is, the end zone will be in my parking spot, so I won't get it."