NFL’s Los Angeles Prospects Grow Unclear As Billionaire Backer Could Be Out

The NFL’s Los Angeles prospects seem to be closely tied to the involvement of Phil Anschtz, but, with word this week that the billionaire planned to sell the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the chances of a franchise going to the city of angels grew a little more unclear.

The L.A. City Council is preparing to approve an environmental impact report later this month for a potential stadium that AEG was supposed to build, but now the potential sale adds some confusion to whether Anschutz would remain involved, Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole reported.

The NFL Los Angeles franchise would need Anschutz to be closely involved, either by buying the team or building the stadium. NFL officials, along with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, even met with Anschutz at his home in Denver in an effort to convince him to back the NFL Los Angeles franchise — an unprecedented step for a league that doesn’t generally seek out potential owners, Cole notes.

Though some around Los Angeles believed that the potential AEG sale helped the prospects of the NFL Los Angeles franchise, others close to the NFL think differently.

“Anyone who thinks this brings more clarity to that project is not dealing in reality,” an NFL team source said. “Dealing with Anschutz was hard, but at least you knew who you were dealing with. Do you think anybody is going to negotiate a deal [to move to Los Angeles] if they don’t know who is going to run AEG or if that person is even interested in building that stadium?”

Another source wondered what could have made Anschutz drop out of the process or why he hadn’t built the stadium already.

“You have so many things that can cause doubt in the process,” a Los Angeles-based source said. “Approving the EIR is probably not that big a deal because it doesn’t put the city in a serious bind just yet. But if you think it through, it does commit the city to being part of the project emotionally. You can’t build up all this hope and then have it come crashing down.”

For his part, the Los Angeles mayor isn’t worried about the NFL Los Angeles team — publicly at least. He told The Los Angeles Times that he has commitments that the AEG sale will not affect the project going forward.