Phil Anschutz didn't get to the top of the moguldom heap by thinking small. The billionaire Quest founder has built his sprawling empire on audacity as well as savvy, and his latest venture -- which involves wooing the NFL back to Los Angeles -- may be the most ambitious of all his schemes.
While avoiding press interviews for decades, Anschutz has quietly acquired an array of enterprises stretching from oil fields and railroads to movie theaters (and some of the movies screened therein) and basketball, hockey and soccer teams. And The Broadmoor. And newspapers. And a lot of western art. And...oh, you get the idea.
But as reported here earlier, the Anschutz Entertainment Group's latest billion-dollar move has been turning heads and drawing national attention, since it involves some major real estate in downtown LA. Building on the success of its Staples Center, AEG is drumming up civic support for a new convention center and 78,000-seat stadium complex, to be built in the surgically altered heart of the city -- even though, at this point, Los Angeles lacks the football team that would play in said stadium.
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No team? A mere piffling detail, from AEG's point of view. The grand plan for Farmers Field (that's several hundred million dollars' worth of naming rights to Farmers Insurance right there) envisions the relocation of some ripe-for-pickin' but established franchise, such as the Raiders (again), the Rams (again?) or the Chargers. It also envisions an AEG stake in the team, of course.
Watching the just-released promotional video below, you'd think this is already a done deal. That the stadium is already booked up for future Super Bowls, Final Fours, Olympics -- not to mention various community events and what's being touted as the "largest urban tailgate party in America," happening every home-game Sunday in an area adjacent to the stadium that can accommodate 15,000 revelers. The only thing that isn't crystal clear, at this point, is which of the NFL teams featured in the video will be playing there regularly.
Check it out. And think big.