PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ While some are desperate to lure an NFL team to the Rose Bowl, they have one condition: anybody but the Oakland Raiders.
“I don’t think we want to embark on something that will tarnish the image of the Rose Bowl,” said Bill Thomson, chairman of the Rose Bowl tenant search committee.
The City Council voted this week to hire Maryland-based sports consultant John Moag, the man widely credited with luring the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995.
The Los Angeles area has been without an NFL team since the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders to Oakland before the 1995 season.
But bringing in the Raiders would be a “deal-breaker,” said City Councilman Steve Madison.
An early morning call to Raiders’ headquarters was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, the Rose Bowl may not be in a position to be highly selective.
Even though the stadium will still be home to the UCLA football team and the annual New Year’s Day bowl game, the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team is leaving after the end of the season.
In addition, advertising revenues are decreasing and the stadium’s annual payments on a $32 million improvement project will increase to more than $3 million over the next decade, said Rose Bowl General Manager Daryl Dunn.
Under terms of the contract, the city will give Moag up to $5 million from ticket sales and other revenue sources if he secures a 15-year commitment from an NFL team by Aug. 1, 2007.
Officials acknowledged it will be hard to lure a professional team without offering to build a new stadium. But even so, officials said they have to think of the Rose Bowl’s image.
“We want the Rose Bowl to be renovated, but not at any cost,” Dunn said.
Officials have emphasized that Moag’s negotiations will not be with individual teams, but with the NFL. Because the Raiders have a long-term contract in Oakland, they are not likely candidates to consider moving to the Rose Bowl.
Residents said they are concerned about the reputation of Raiders fans, who were known for “fights and drunkenness and disorderly conduct,” said Norm Parker, president of a nearby homeowners’ association.
In 1990, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan was severely beaten by a Raiders fan at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Arizona resident Paul Albrecht, 35, suffered neurological damage, a broken jaw and loss of hearing. Two months later, the Coliseum stopped selling beer after halftime.
“That’s not the image we want transferred nationwide and worldwide from the Rose Bowl,” Parker said.