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Leiweke Targets 2016 Super Bowl for Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, November 05, 2010, at 01:21PM
Convention Center West Hall Eric Richardson [Flickr]

AEG CEO Tim Leiweke is pushing plans to construct a $1-billion, retractable-roof stadium next to Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre on the site of the Convention Center's West Hall (top right).

If Tim Leiweke gets his way, the NFL's 50th Super Bowl will be played just two miles up the street from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site of Super Bowl I.

The AEG CEO is pushing hard on plans to build a $1-billion, retractable-roof stadium next to Staples Center, and Thursday he said that he believes the timetable works.

He also believes that the project and an associated expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center would create an events complex without equal and drive the construction of five new hotels in South Park. Once that's done, "we go after every big event that exists in the United States and the world," he told those attending a luncheon organized by Town Hall Los Angeles.

Calling the ten yearly NFL games a "centerpiece," Leiweke said that he believes the stadium would host approximately 50 events annually. That could include making L.A. Live the permanent home of the X Games, going after the Final Four and hosting a college football tournament.

Before he can get to that point, though, a number of pieces need to fall into place.

"First, we need to get a deal done with the league," Leiweke said. AEG is pushing for a commitment of three Super Bowl games in the stadium's first decade, one more than the league would typically offer. Leiweke has also previously pushed to bring the NFL draft to Los Angeles.

The second deal would be with the City of Los Angeles, owner of the Convention Center West Hall site where the stadium would rise. AEG is proposing to build a new event hall next to the I.M. Pei-designed main hall, creating a facility with nearly one million square feet of contiguous space.

That would give the facility the ability to attract top conventions and would drive the creation of what AEG believes would be five new hotels. One of them would be the facility that AEG has entitled across Olympic from L.A. Live. Leiweke has previously told blogdowntown that he was in discussions with Hard Rock, Hyatt and W about the space.

Third would come an agreement to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles. "We don't have a team in mind," Leiweke said. "That's not my place. We'll leave it up to the commissioner."

Last would come the need for private funds. While Leiweke said AEG is prepared to self-finance the stadium's $1-billion construction, naming rights and sponsorships would be an important part of making the facility pencil out. He pointed out that his company already negotiates $400 million in suite deals and sponsorships annually.

Leiweke hopes to see the stadium's entitlement process underway in January, a process that would take approximately one year. Construction of the new event hall would get underway in January 2012, and demolition of the old hall would begin in January 2013. He believes that stadium construction can be done in 30 months, allowing the facility to open for the 2015 NFL season.

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