L.A. Stadium Developer Hints at Billion Dollar Naming Rights Deal
Speaking from the Pacific Palms Resort hotel in the City of Industry, Majestic Realty Vice President John Semcken, discussed “accelerated” plans to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles, including the prospect of a naming rights megadeal.
“I think our deal will be larger than [the AEG] deal,” Semcken said. “I think we’ll have the first billion-dollar naming rights deal.”
Semcken, the face of Ed Roski’s Los Angeles Stadium initiative, would not elaborate on specifics of the proposed deal, including the contract length or potential sponsors, but he intimated that talks are ongoing.
“We’re not in any hurry [to establish naming rights],” Semcken said. “It’s going to take 30 months to build this stadium.”
His comments follow AEG’s announcement of a 20-year, $700-million naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance in connection with a competing stadium project in downtown Los Angeles.
The blockbuster announcement stole much of Majestic’s thunder in early February.
If plans go through, Los Angeles Stadium would be a 75,000-seat NFL venue and the main feature of a 600-acre entertainment district recently dubbed “Grand Crossing.”
The race is on.
“We didn’t anticipate another stadium proposal,” Semcken said, alluding to the NFL’s preference that no talks occur before a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. “We were doing what the league was asking us to do. We were waiting. Now, it’s not in our best interest to wait. Our best interest is to get a team as soon as we can and that’s what we’re doing.”
Majestic planners have recently stepped up talks with teams in light of the AEG plan.
“Since there’s been another stadium proposed, we’ve gone forth and started talking to teams because we are ready to break ground tomorrow,” Semcken said. “If we had a team today, we could have a breaking ground ceremony tomorrow.”
When pressed to name the teams involved in discussions, Semcken would not elaborate. However, he has talked to “all” of the candidates that will be contractually eligible to move, according an LA Weekly article. That group includes the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
On Friday, a roadblock presented itself when NFL owners and the NFL Players Association failed to reach a new labor deal. The league’s collective bargaining agreement was set to expire at midnight.
“Finalizing a deal is a complicated issue. You have the CBA and the league is focused on that. They told us, ‘You’re not gonna have any stadiums approved until the CBA’s done,’” Semcken said. “We could agree on terms with a team, but those terms don’t mean anything because then that team has to take it to the league.”
Eventually, not one but two teams will occupy the proposed stadium, Semcken said. All development plans revolve around the concept of two teams.
“We only need one to finance the building,” he said. “To be perfectly honest, we’d rather have one. Can you imagine having this market all to yourself and not have to share with another team? But that’s probably not in the cards.”
Latest changes to the Grand Crossing plan include a redesign to accommodate international soccer. The stadium plan now meets all FIFA requirements to host a World Cup, according to project manager Taylor Talt, including retractable lower seating and improved sight lines.