Should downtown L.A. have a football stadium? No way, and here's why
With Los Angeles thinking about building a football stadium downtown, David Feehan and Don Shea, both professionals with experience in downtown development, have argued in today's op-ed that it's a terrible idea, unless, of course, city officials want Los Angeles to lose even more money.
"If downtowns are the community's 'living room,' building a football stadium is a bit like buying a jumbo flat-screen TV. We may want one for entertaining family and friends, but is it worth the price when the roof is leaking?" they ask.
Here are some more questions they’d urge elected and appointed officials, business leaders and local residents to answer before making any decisions:
• Are downtown sports facilities still a good idea? If so, why?
• Downtown sports facilities take up large amounts of scarce land, sometimes as much as 100 acres in the case of football stadiums and associated parking. Aren't there better uses?
• Football stadiums host a very limited number of games, and in cold-weather cities are useless for a third of the year unless domed. Why should they be downtown?
• With cities increasingly strapped for funds, should public money subsidize downtown sports facilities?
• How effective an economic development strategy is a downtown sports facility?
• Will the public continue to support public financing — direct or indirect — for these facilities?
• Is there sufficient evidence that the purported economic benefits (jobs, tax revenue, spinoff effects) will materialize?
As for public opinion, here’s what a few of our readers are saying:
No new stadium in Los Angeles! We already have too many. The NFL can play in either the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, or Home Depot Center. And please don't talk about how people don't want to go to the Coliseum. The USC Trojans have debunked that myth with at or near capacity crowds for games. One more stadium or arena and we're going to be known as "Los Angeles, the city of stadiums and arenas." Enough is enough! -- Tonyyy at 12:58 AM December 10, 2010
Why are baseball stadiums no longer built to accommodate football? A lot of the stadiums built in the 1960s, such as Shea Stadium and the Astrodome, had field level seats that were designed to be moved to reshape the field for football or baseball. It's ridiculous to have a separate football stadium for eight home games a year. -- singerfb at 9:02 PM December 9, 2010
I know of very few people who actually want an NFL team in LA. I, for one, would prefer that we remain an NFL-free zone. But if some super wealthy developer wants to not only pay all stadium costs without public subsidy or exemption from environmental review, but also provide substantial funds to the City to ease its budget crunch, then I could be convinced to support the project. -- alwaysconsider at 7:20 PM December 9, 2010
What do you think?
-- Alexandra Le Tellier
Illustration: Michael Osbun / Tribune Media Services