Mayor previously backed new stadium

Updated: June 2, 2004, 6:47 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Mayor James Hahn said he now thinks a modified Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would be the appropriate home for the possible return of an NFL team to the city.

Hahn had previously backed a proposal to build a new stadium, but said the progress the Coliseum has made in preparing environmental impact documents has given it the edge over other possible sites.

"The Coliseum certainly is in a great position at this point," he said Tuesday.

The stadium hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and was home to the NFL's Raiders and Rams until they left before the 1995 season.

A $400 million renovation to prepare it for a pro team would reduce the Coliseum's seating capacity from 92,500 to 78,000 seats and add 200 luxury boxes. It also would add new locker rooms and a press box.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue last week said the league would decide on an LA-area stadium site by next spring, and hopes to have a team there by 2008. Other sites being considered are Pasadena's Rose Bowl and a former landfill in Carson.

Last month, the NFL presented to Coliseum officials a term sheet, the framework of a deal. The Coliseum Commission is expected to respond this month.

Hahn said his office would facilitate a deal and streamline permits needed for modifications to the Coliseum.

"We can help build public support," he said. "But I'm pleased they're not asking for public money."

Others now supporting an NFL team at the Coliseum include Tim Leiweke, the president of Anschutz Entertainment Group who had previously led a push for a new stadium.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press