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A rendition of Farmers Field and a rebuild Los Angeles Convention Center. Major upgrades to the Los Angeles Convention Center coupled with the new football stadium will take the city from the 14th ranked convention city into the top five. By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Since the Raiders and Rams left Los Angeles without a NFL team there have been numerous stadium plans and groups that have attempted to bring a professional football team back to the nations second largest market. But since 1995, there has not been a NFL team that called this city its home. The past few years have seen the most action in bringing the NFL back than previous years, with a group led by Edward Roskie, part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, unveiling a stadium plan back in 2009. But a couple years ago one simple question was floated around AEG, which owns Staples Center and L.A. Live. Could a football stadium be built adjacent to Staples Center? After looking at blue prints, the answer was yes, and AEG stepped into the stadium race. Since then they have excited a city that is longing for a NFL team. With Magic Johnson on board, AEG has stolen the bulk of the headlines, but their plan is not all show, as it is something that will bring great value to Los Angeles. Their plan will bring much more than landing a NFL team.A part of the Farmer Field plan will be to build a new West Hall to the Los Angeles Convention Center, which has not been upgraded in the past 17 years. Ninety-three percent of convention centers in the US have received upgrades over that time period, with 63 percent of convention centers receiving major upgrades. According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and the Institute of Business Travel Management, Los Angeles is the 14th ranked convention city. Building L.A. Live and the J.W. Marriot, which provided entertainment and hotel rooms, improved Los Angeles’ ranking, but developers believe that making major upgrades to the convention center would make this city a top five convention city. That means millions of dollars generated yearly, and thousands of new jobs, as the hospitality industry is one of the largest and most profitable in the nation. Plans call for the West Hall to be torn down to build Farmers Field, and using the open space between the rest of the Convention Center and Staples Center to build a new West Hall. That would nearly double the amount of meeting rooms that the Convention Center will have, which will help attract major corporations to host conventions in Los Angeles. The revenue and jobs created by major upgrades to the Convention Center is great, but to the public, this plan is really about football, and that is what launched this idea. AEG revealed their latest stadium plan and video at the International Stadia Design & Technology EXPO 2012 conference, which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG announced that they plan to open this stadium in 2017, but first they have to identify a team, which they plan to do by next spring. Once they have a team in place they will then break ground. Finding a team has long been an issue, and as of last week they have one less potential team to choose from. Minnesota approved construction of a new stadium for the Vikings, so their flirtation with Los Angeles is officially over. The San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams are the most talked about teams to play in this stadium, but at this point neither team has made any public indication that they plan on moving. Sports fans in Los Angeles have gotten their hopes up several times with new and dazzling stadium plans, but this one appears to be the most viable, and it has a lot more to do with just football.
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