Tim Leiweke says L.A. stadium could be ready for 2016 Super Bowl
AEG’s Tim Leiweke, who heads a group looking to build an NFL stadium next to Staples Center, said the project could be completed in time to host the 50th Super Bowl in February 2016.
Leiweke said his group would ask the NFL to waive its traditional requirement that a venue be open for at least a year before being eligible to host its marquee event. He said that if all goes as planned, a privately financed, $1-billion L.A. stadium could be ready for the 2015 season.
The first Super Bowl was played at the L.A. Coliseum.
“We’re asking [the NFL] to look at our track record, the uniqueness of that anniversary, and the place that this city has played in hosting Super Bowls,” said Leiweke, AEG’s president and chief executive, at a Biltmore Hotel luncheon organized by Town Hall Los Angeles.
Leiweke met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league executives Wednesday in New York, but declined to specify what they discussed.
Leiweke, along with L.A. businessman Casey Wasserman, has proposed a retractable-roof “event center” that would double as sports venue and convention space — the centerpiece, in fact, of a massive convention center expansion AEG is proposing. They envision the stadium hosting Final Fours and the 2022 World Cup Finals (should the U.S.’ bid next month be accepted), in addition to being home to an NFL team.
L.A. real estate magnate Ed Roski has a competing proposal in City of Industry that is much further along in the process, and is already fully entitled.
Leiweke said he plans to ask the state for an environmental exemption similar to the one granted to the Industry proposal, one that still requires an environmental-impact report but protects it from various lawsuits.
“Despite the speculation I’ve seen out there that we would not go through an entitlement process and we’re using Sacramento to avoid that — not true,” Leiweke told The Times.
“We think this thing stands on its own two feet. So we will do an entitlement. What we won’t do is allow unwarranted lawsuits to delay the process or complicate the process.”
From the NFL’s perspective, there is no rush. The league is in the middle of a labor dispute and has no plans to relocate a team at least until that is settled. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in March.
“We know that there’s no team and no league that’s going to vote and approve a transfer for at least a year, and probably longer,” Leiweke told The Times.
“Roger Goodell is aware of what we’re doing. We follow the lead of Roger and the league as to what we can and cannot say, and what we can and cannot do, and what we can and cannot expect.”