Pasadena to consider whether to host NFL at Rose Bowl

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The Pasadena City Council will hold a public hearing Monday to decide whether to pursue hosting an NFL team for up to five years.

Many Pasadena residents who live near the Rose Bowl complain that the city’s proposal to host a team would invite massive traffic jams, unleash rowdy fan behavior and displace recreational users from the Arroyo Seco.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and others say the prospect of millions of dollars in public revenue and game-related local spending is a windfall well worth the inconveniences.

The positive and negative scenarios are each speculative. No NFL team has committed to Southern California despite years of talk, and the Coliseum in Los Angeles is another option as a temporary home while a permanent new NFL stadium is built.


But if talks with the NFL are to begin, Pasadena leaders must pass an ordinance to increase the number of large events allowed at the Rose Bowl from 12 to 25 each year, approve an associated environmental study and adopt a ‘statement of overriding considerations’ that pro football’s potential benefits outweigh its downsides.

A Nov. 5 report by Barrett Sports Group, a Manhattan Beach consulting firm hired by the city, estimates that NFL games would raise $5 million to $10 million a year for the city-owned stadium, where costs for an ongoing renovation have spiraled to nearly $195 million. The gap between the funds Rose Bowl officials have and what they estimate they need has reached $30 million.

City Council members declined to say how they would vote on Monday, but several said the renovation cost was a factor.

Councilwoman Margaret McAustin said the city would seek to reduce effects on Rose Bowl neighbors if it decided to go ahead with the plan.

‘It’s not that we’ll do this at all costs ... [but] we have to keep in mind that the Rose Bowl is a football stadium,’ she said. ‘We’re not spending $200 million to preserve it as a museum.’

The city’s 688-page environmental study found that NFL games would result in ‘significant and unavoidable’ traffic congestion, emissions, noise and disruptions in the central Arroyo Seco.

The arrival of more than 25,000 vehicles during eight home games, two preseason games and possible playoff matches would disrupt joggers and prompt the Kidspace Museum, Rose Bowl Aquatic Center and Brookside Golf Course to go dark on game days.

Sixty-four letters and two petitions were submitted as public comment on the environmental study, most against the proposal.


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-- Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday. On Monday, city leaders will vote on a plan that would allow an NFL team to play at the stadium for up to five years. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News