Even though 10 a.m. is way too early to be eating hot dogs, loyal fans fire up barbecue grills in the parking lot. Children toss footballs on the lawn. True devotees don jerseys with their beloved colors, and some even paint those hues on their flabby stomachs — to the horror of the general public. It is game day in Los Angeles, but this time, it’s not the Trojans who will be taking the field.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should be commended for signing a bill last Thursday to accelerate construction for an NFL stadium 15 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles in the City of Industry. While it does not guarantee that the stadium will be built — an NFL owner must first agree to bring a team to Los Angeles — approving plans for the stadium was certainly the biggest hurdle yet to be crossed.
Soon, USC students may have yet another team to root for, and even more game days to celebrate.
There are many concerns about the environmental damage and increased traffic a football stadium will cause; others question the need for a professional football team in a city that two popular college teams already call home.
Despite these worries, USC students and Los Angeles residents alike have many reasons to be enthusiastic about the invitation Schwarzenegger has extended to bring professional football back to Los Angeles.
One way this will create a positive impact on our community is that the stadium will create about 18,000 jobs, said USC Trustee Edward Roski Jr. in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Roski is the real estate developer who will build the $800-million stadium near the junction of the 57 and 60 freeways. He and officials from Majestic Realty Co., where he is CEO, have lobbied relentlessly this year to pass laws and get the project in motion.
Building a football stadium could boost California’s slumping economy by requiring a huge workforce to construct the 75,000-seat venue.
Timing for this project is perfect: California’s unemployment rate continues to soar, reaching 12.2 percent in September.
Schwarzenegger promised profits as well, assuring that the project is expected to boost the local economy by more than $760 million in revenue annually.
In addition to the stadium, the site will include an orthopedic hospital, a movie theater, restaurants, office space and retail stores.
This bodes well for job-seeking USC students, who may find employment at the stadium in departments like marketing and sports medicine.
Another benefit of having professional football so close to our home base is that it will provide another source of lucrative entertainment in our city. A potential LA Superbowl could bring in up to $800 million in revenue, not to mention weekly games.
For those who fear traffic jams and added noise, Roski and his developers have ensured that the arena would be capped at 45 events a year — which would end by 10 p.m. to limit late-night disturbances for nearby residents, like those in Walnut who vehemently oppose the stadium.
Roski’s project will also give Los Angeles the opportunity to pioneer what Schwarzenegger called “the nation’s greenest football stadium.” Although last Thursday’s bill designed to speed up construction has made the building exempt from state environmental laws, the stadium will be the first to earn certification from the US Green Building Council, as it will be powered by solar panels and use recycled water.
Finally, welcoming a professional football team back to Los Angeles provides a unique platform upon which our city can build unity. Successful teams like the Lakers and Dodgers have proven that sports can boost pride for our community despite a rattled economy. Maybe a winning football team can do the same.
After the Super Bowl is played in February, Roski has said he will approach seven teams whose present contracts, audience markets and finances are less than ideal to discuss the option of moving to Los Angeles: the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams.
As soon as a team is locked in, Roski will break ground on the project’s construction. In the meantime, California officials and residents alike will have to wait in eager anticipation, hoping the USC trustee can “Fight On” and help bring professional football back to Los Angeles.
Kelsey Clark is a sophomore majoring in chemistry.