The rest of the City Council finally came around to seeing things William Paparian and Chris Holden's way on Tuesday.
You're right, their colleagues agreed. The Los Angeles Sports Council should cough up some money for last season's Super Bowl, which was held in January in the city-owned Rose Bowl.
"It's painfully obvious we're being stalled," Councilman Bill Crowfoot said.
The Sports Council, a nonprofit corporation that sponsors major sporting events in the Los Angeles area, promised $1 million for the use of the Rose Bowl for the National Football League's championship game. They should at least give some detailed explanations about why they haven't paid, the council members agreed.
But let's keep the volume down, Paparian and Holden's colleagues suggested. The NFL might be listening, just when Pasadena hopes to bring the Super Bowl home one more time in 1998.
The two council members who have been pressing the Sports Council to pay up, threatening to withhold support for other events at the Rose Bowl, agreed to head off a potentially embarrassing public wrangle on Tuesday. They threw their weight behind a Los Angeles/Pasadena bid for the 1998 game, Super Bowl XXXII, joining three other council members in a unanimous vote.
Councilman Isaac Richard was absent for the vote, and Mayor Rick Cole recused himself from the discussion on the advice of City Atty. Victor Kaleta. Cole had accepted more than $250 worth of tickets to Super Bowl-related events last January, making him ineligible to vote on matters of business with the NFL under Fair Political Practices Commission guidelines.
Without unanimous support for the Super Bowl XXXII bid, said Councilman William Thomson, who was part of a delegation that met with NFL officials last week, the game would surely go to another city.
"The (NFL team) owners won't want to find themselves embroiled in what looks like might be a fight," Thomson said.
The team owners will decide, at a league meeting in Chicago on Oct. 27, between Pasadena and two other cities as a location for the future Super Bowl, which has the potential to pump more than $200 million into the Los Angeles-area economy.
The Rose Bowl faces some stiff competition, Thomson said. The choice initially had been between Atlanta and Pasadena, but Atlanta dropped out last week. Then NFL officials opened up the competition to San Diego and Tampa Bay, both of whom also are vying for Super Bowl XXXI in 1997, for which New Orleans appears to have the inside track, Thomson said.
"We're competing with two cities, each with its own team and owner, who may already be in the position of having been told no for 1997," Thomson said. "They'll be arguing very strongly for 1998."
Paparian and Holden had been asking some probing questions about the finances of the Sports Council, whose 49-member board of directors includes top Los Angeles corporate officials, high-profile lawyers and owners of professional sports teams, as well as people like Magic Johnson and producer David Wolper.
"It's like a who's who of the power elite in Los Angeles," Paparian said.
The two council members said they were concerned about the organization's slowness in responding to requests for information about the $1 million. The money was supposed to be used to help pay for the Rose Bowl's new $8 million press box, which the NFL required the city to build as a condition for staging Super Bowl XXVII.
"They (the Sports Council) ignored us," Holden said. "They stonewalled us for 10 months."
Sports Council officials said that the $1 million offer had been contingent on sales of 2,500 tickets to the game, which the organization packaged with other hospitality and entertainment offerings. The Sports Council had hoped to raise as much as $4 million from the ticket packages, which were the NFL's means of payment for use of the Rose Bowl and other expenses.
But the economy put a chill on sales, and only about $2.7 million was raised, said Sports Council Chairman John Argue, who has offered Pasadena a settlement of about $200,000.
After Holden and Paparian began demanding answers, officials of the organization finally offered to provide the city with detailed information to explain the lack of funds, city officials said Tuesday.
"I always thought it was important to have parallel tracks with equal diligence in getting a full accounting of the money owed from the 1993 game and for pursuing the 1998 game," Holden said, explaining his support for the new bid. "That's happening, and the parties are finally coming to the table."
According to Thomson and Interim Rose Bowl Manager David Jacobs, the 1998 game is already shaping up as a better deal for the city.
The NFL has agreed in principle to cede revenues from game-day parking and concessions to the city, as well as money from scoreboard advertising and helicopter landings, for a total package of $765,000, Jacobs said.
Most of those kinds of revenues were taken by the NFL this year, he said.
"This time we're selling the advantages of the Bowl rather than trying to be travel agents and sell tickets," Jacobs said.