Bid Dropped To Bring NFL to LA

Wednesday, August 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Developer Edward Roski Jr. abandoned plans to buy an NFL franchise after spearheading a failed attempt by Los Angeles last year to land an expansion team.

He now wants to broker a deal to bring the Arizona Cardinals to Los Angeles if Arizona voters fail to approve a November referendum to build a domed stadium.

``What we have offered to do is act as an intermediary,'' Roski, a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, said Tuesday.

``We need to bring all the parties together, such as the L.A. Coliseum Commission, the state, the L.A. Conservancy, USC and all the stakeholders there at Exposition Park,'' Roski told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Roski recently bought the 3,200-room Las Vegas Hilton Hotel for $365 million. He also owns the 300-room Silverton Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Under NFL rules, Roski could not have become an NFL owner because of his gambling ties. He would have had to divest himself of his casino holdings.

Roski, the developer who built the $400 million Staples Center, wants to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles as early as next season. If the Cardinals are lured West, Roski said they could play at the Rose Bowl next year while the Coliseum is being renovated.

Renovation financing would come from a long-term lease of the Coliseum by an NFL team, he said.

Cardinals spokesman Paul Jensen said the team was committed to remaining in Arizona. A franchise cannot entertain talks about relocating during the season until after January's Super Bowl.

Proposition 302 calls for Maricopa County residents — about 1.1 million registered voters in the cities of Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe — to approve the funding of a ``multipurpose sport and event facility, youth and amateur sports recreational facilities.''

Roski's plan also faces another obstacle.

Al LoCasale, assistant to Oakland Raiders managing general partner Al Davis, said the Raiders hold the NFL rights to the Los Angeles market.

``That territory is something that we paid for,'' LoCasale said.

The Los Angeles area has been without an NFL team since the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season.