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Rose Bowl officials do not want stadium to be a temporary NFL home

Cross the Rose Bowl off the list of venues competing to be a temporary home for an NFL team that relocates to Los Angeles.

By an 11-0 vote Wednesday night, the Rose Bowl Operating Co. decided not to respond to a request for proposal the NFL sent last month to at least five local venues, the others being the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and StubHub Center.

The NFL did not respond to a request for comment on the development.

The RBOC, which runs the Pasadena stadium, decided it was more productive and lucrative for the Rose Bowl to pursue a music and arts festival, which would take place annually during three days in June.

“We believe that a music and arts festival is more fitting with Pasadena's brand and with the future of the stadium,” said Victor Gordo, RBOC president and a member of the Pasadena City Council. “With our desire to have certainty of finances of the stadium, and to have a world-class event that's fitting of the city.”

Although there would be no overlap of such a festival and the NFL season, an environmental impact report being prepared for a planned Arroyo Seco Music and Arts Festival specifically prohibits the stadium from playing host to an NFL team. That EIR is expected to be finished this fall, in time for the first festival to take place next June. That would pave the way for a 20-year contract with a guaranteed minimum of $3 million in revenue per year. A few years ago, the RBOC estimated that the stadium could garner between $5 million and $10 million per season as a temporary home of an NFL team.

“The distraction that the NFL question poses at this time could take away from our collective efforts as a city to realize a music and arts festival,” Gordo said. “What you saw from the board today is we don't want that distraction.”

Notably, AEG would be a partner in the festival. That company, which owns StubHub Center, has had its own sometimes contentious relationship with the NFL and earlier this year pulled the plug on its Farmers Field stadium project downtown.

The NFL has requested that proposals from the various venues be submitted by Aug. 5, in advance of a special owners meeting in Chicago to discuss the L.A. situation. The owner of the St. Louis Rams is proposing building a stadium in Inglewood, and the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have put forth a competing plan for a stadium in Carson.

Regardless of which stadium proposal comes to fruition, if one does, a team or teams would be playing in temporary venues for at least two seasons.

The Rose Bowl has pursued the NFL in the past, and Pasadena previously commissioned — and legally defended — an EIR that contemplated the stadium being a temporary NFL home. That was over the protests of vocal and influential neighborhood groups that surround the Rose Bowl. But in bowing out this time, the RBOC made it clear it is ready to move on.

“An RFP is not an indication that the NFL wants to come here,” RBOC member Nicholas Rodriguez said. “It's an indication of a bidding war.”

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