Sports stars urge L.A. council to approve AEG's NFL stadium plan
Los Angeles basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former pro football quarterback Rodney Peete turned out Friday to urge the City Council to approve the downtown NFL stadium and convention center plan backed by Anschutz Entertainment Group.
AEG chief Tim Leiweke told the council that a "yes" vote on the stadium deal would show the NFL that “L.A. is now open for business.”
Abdul-Jabbar also addressed the council and said titles won by the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and the Sparks basketball team showed that sports franchises can thrive in L.A., which has been without a pro football team for 17 years.
“If you build a great home, they will come and they will win championships,” he said.
AEG recently announced that owner Philip Anschutz, a Denver billionaire, had put the company up for sale. Leiweke pledged that whoever becomes the city’s “next partner” -– whoever takes over AEG -– will also be committed to bringing a football team.
Seated alongside Leiweke and Abdul-Jabbar in the council chamber was Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles billionaire who has expressed interested in buying the company and supporting the football plan.
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar listens to City Council hearings, flanked by AEG chief Tim Leiweke, left, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles billionaire who has expressed interest in buying AEG. Credit: Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times