Roski’s group plans to target teams in February
With Ed Roski and his company, Majestic Realty, moving closer to gaining final approval for a new L.A.-area stadium, the next -- and potentially far bigger -- challenge will be to find a team to play there.
“Come next week, our stadium will be approved,” Majestic exec John Semcken recently said. “Then we’ll be able to go out and buy a football team.”
Semcken said that the group plans to target at least six franchises: the Bills, Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams, and Raiders. The 49ers also could be in play, if they cannot finalize plans for a new stadium in Santa Clara.
“There are at least seven teams that are having an issue,” Semcken said. “San Francisco, I think they’re fine. So the other six teams, one of those six will move to our stadium.”
Of course, Semcken said last year that a team would be playing in the Los Angeles area come 2009, so his credibility is a little suspect. He now thinks 2011 is a more likely target for temporary relocation to L.A., with the new stadium opening in 2013.
But keeping with the project’s Field of Dreams re-mixed “if they come, we will build it” vibe, Semcken makes it clear that there will be no football stadium without a football game.
“We cannot build a stadium without a team,” Semcken said. “Mr. Roski may be rich, but he’s not stupid.”
Then again, Roski isn’t as rich as he used to be. His personal net worth has dropped in the last year by a whopping $1 billion, down to a paltry $1.5 billion.
The other problem comes from Roski’s gambling interests. He owns the Silverton Casino Lodge; unless he sells it, he won’t be owning all or any part of an NFL team. (Unless, that is, he replaces the “ski” in his last name with “oney.”)
Meanwhile, Roski’s quest inadvertently will provide the teams trying to improve their current situations all the leverage they need as they try to get new or improved stadiums in their current markets.
For the NFL, the ideal outcome would be to use Roski’s interest as the vehicle for securing new digs for the Niners, Chargers, Raiders, Rams, and Vikings. Then, if tickets still aren’t selling in northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Jaguars could sprout some spots and become the L.A. Leopards.
And if no team is interested in relocating to the nation’s No. 2 market, we continue to believe that Roski’s stadium could host eight neutral-site games per year, once the regular season is expanded to 17 or 18 games.
Under that scenario, Roski likely could keep his casino -- and also would fulfill his vision of bringing football back to Los Angeles.