Los Angeles, the second largest media market in the country, has been without a football team since the Rams left Anaheim Stadium for a new home in St. Louis in 1995. The previous year the Oakland Raiders moved back to Oakland after thirteen seasons of unsuccessfully trying to sell out the 90,000-seat Los Angeles Coliseum. Over the years there has been talk of bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles, along with proposed sites for a team including ones adjacent to Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Dodger Stadium, Home Depot Center in Carson and another stadium proposed by real estate mogul Edward P. Roski in the City of Industry.
The latest development is AEG’s (Anschutz Entertainment Group) proposed 64,000-seat, retractable-roof football stadium to join Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and the L.A. Convention Center at L.A. LIVE in Downtown Los Angeles. On February 1st it was announced that, although there is no team or approved stadium plan, naming rights have already been sold to Farmers Insurance for $700 million. The proposed $1 billion stadium (to be funded by AEG) would be called Farmers Field. The $700 million (starting at $20 million in year one and increasing annually over 30 years) naming rights agreement would be the largest long-term naming rights agreement in history. Farmers’ partnership would provide an enormous branding opportunity for the company along with exclusive naming exposure and signage inside and outside Farmers Field including electronic and video messaging during events, hospitality access inside and outside the stadium, promotional and experiential activation areas throughout the concourses and other public areas and a variety of branded clubs and other interactive areas to be used by Farmers Insurance agents and customers. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa states, “Farmers Field will be a catalyst for new development, creating nearly 20,000 jobs and $3 billion worth of new development in the downtown area alone.”
Local sports hero Magic Johnson has said he hopes to become a part owner in Los Angeles’ NFL team saying, “We’re getting closer and closer to bringing football back to Los Angeles. This is exciting for me and the whole city. I don’t know what happened in the past but I [think] the community now is really excited about football returning to Los Angeles.”
AEG is talking with NFL and team officials and believes the stadium will have at least one NFL team and possibly two by the time Farmer’s Field opens (projected for 2015 if approved) providing the opportunity to host Super Bowl L in 2016. The first Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles in 1967. Speculation about which NFL franchise, or two franchises, could move to Los Angeles recently has focused on the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings.