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Magic calls on fans to sign petition for L.A. football stadium

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Sports and entertainment company AEG is reaching for star power in its quest to bring a football team to downtown Los Angeles.

In an email sent to Staples Center ticket purchasers and supporters, Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson made a plea for fans to sign a petition in support of Farmers Field stadium, which would be constructed over half the existing Los Angeles Convention Center in a rapidly-rejuvenated part of downtown that includes LA Live, an AEG-owned entertainment complex with concert venues, restaurants, a bowling alley, movie theaters and the Staples Center, which has housed the Lakers, the Clippers and hockey's Kings since 1999.

"For sports fans, Farmers Field makes L.A. one of the top sports cities in the world, giving us the stadium we need not only to host a football team, but the Super Bowl, Olympics, NCAA Final Fours and other major events," the statement reads. "And for business folks like me, Farmers Field brings more than 18,000 permanent, good paying jobs to the city -- building our urban communities and bringing pride back to our neighborhoods.

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"It's about time that we finally give our city a football team -- and bring "Showtime" back to Los Angeles, not just on the basketball court, but on the football field."

AEG often touts LA Live's role in helping rejuvenate downtown Los Angeles as a preview of the impact its stadium proposal could have when promoting its plan to city residents and officials.

The AEG stadium plan is one of two competing proposals that aim to bring football back to Los Angeles some 15 years after the Rams and Raiders left the nation's second-largest market within months of one another.

AEG has said it would pick up the entire $1 billion construction tab for its stadium. The venue would be constructed over half the existing convention center, which would be rebuilt to attract more conventions. The company's plan calls for the city to issue some $350 million in bonds to finance the demolition and relocation of the contention center hall displaced by the stadium.

AEG officials have said they would ask the city to let AEG use stadium ticket taxes and new venue-related revenue from city-owned parking lots to service the debt on the bonds but would make up an estimated $6-million-to-$8-million shortfall.

Warehouse magnate Ed Roski has permits in place to build a separate 75,000-seat stadium about 15 miles east of Los Angeles, in the city of Industry.

Both camps have said they hope to recruit a team -- and possibly two -- from among those that need a new stadium to maximize revenue but are unable to get one built in their current locations.

The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars are among the teams often mentioned as possible candidates to play in the proposed venues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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