Hollywood Park, known best to date for fading in the stretch in its quest to secure a professional football team, has decided to go to the whip with the enlistment of agent Leigh Steinberg.
Steinberg, who represents many of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, says he believes the NFL has no plans to expand and no intention of returning to Orange County before coming back to the Los Angeles area. He said he will help Hollywood Park line up investors for a Sports Town-like complex and will pursue the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if the team loses its referendum for a new stadium in September.
“I would love to see an expansion team here, but I don’t see something like that happening before 2001,” Steinberg said. “That’s too long to wait. People say all the time Los Angeles will have a football team, but here we are going into our second year with no chance of it happening. It’s an intolerable situation.”
Steinberg, leader of the ill-fated “Save the Rams” campaign, said he remains an Orange County-area booster, although his Hollywood Park affiliation will surely be interpreted as an indicator of Anaheim’s chances of recruiting professional football.
“I’m not abandoning Anaheim, but it certainly won’t happen there first,” Steinberg said. “In the short term, the NFL seems determined to put a team in metropolitan Los Angeles, and Hollywood Park provides the fastest possible solution.
“If the fans in Tampa vote to let the team go, then Los Angeles should be a major player,” Steinberg said. “R.D. Hubbard [Hollywood Park’s chief operating officer] has the wherewithal to pull it off, and I can foresee a situation here where a team has two or three celebrities as minority partners and a further partnership with an entertainment company.”