Feb 12, 2014
NFL Will Not Come To Pasadena in 2014, but 18 other events will
By Lauren Gold, Pasadena Star-News
PASADENA >> City officials said the National Football League has no plans for a team to play at Rose Bowl in 2014, putting to rest the fears of many who thought they would see dozens of large football games in the heart of their neighborhood.
However, the City Council said Monday it will allow the Rose Bowl to host 18 large-scale events at the stadium this year, and has not completely removed the NFL option from the table for 2015.
The NFL has been a source of contention in the city for years, even eliciting a lawsuit filed by three neighborhood groups in the Arroyo Seco area. Councilman Victor Gordo, president of the Rose Bowl Operating Company board, said if the 18 events this year can generate enough revenue, the NFL could be off the table.
“If we can put to rest once and for all the question of the NFL at the Rose Bowl and not let it be another 60-year question, like the 710 (freeway extension) is, then we ought to do that, so long as we are able to meet our fiduciary responsible to the city, and I believe that we are close,” Gordo said. “This has never been about the NFL, this is only about ... the financial stability of the stadium. The NFL is simply one alternative.”
Revenues are up for the Rose Bowl this year, which Gordo said is a sign the stadium is trending in the right direction without the controversial NFL. Premium seating revenues are projected at more than $7 million this fiscal year, up from $2.1 million last year, and UCLA football revenues are set to hit $5 million this fiscal year, a huge jump from last year’s $1.9 million. Revenues from large non-football events are projected at $1 million this fiscal year and $2 million next year.
In addition to the UCLA season, the council approved a three-night One Direction concert in the fall, another two-night concert with promoter Live Nation that has not been announced, an international soccer game, the annual AmericaFest and the Autism Speaks walk. The council also approved an 18th event, which Gordo said will be a popular musical artist if it materializes.
Though the Rose Bowl neighbors have said that they support concerts over the NFL, Linda Vista-Annandale Neighborhood Association President Nina Chomsky expressed concern that more events should merit additional environmental study.
“CEQA requires the proposed expansion of displacement events at the Rose Bowl Stadium from 12 to 18 in 2014 to be subject to environmental review to inform the City Council’s decision making and to allow for full public participation,” Chomsky said in an email to the council.
Councilman Terry Tornek said he supports the new direction toward large non-football events, though he has a few “remaining concerns,” including those raised by Chomsky. As the lone vote against a temporary NFL team at the Rose Bowl, Tornek said he would be glad to see the stadium hopefully find another viable alternative.
“I’m more encouraged and optimistic about the ultimate outcome than I have been in a long time and I think the (Rose Bowl Operating Company) is really behaving in a responsible way and they are working very hard at this,” Tornek said. “The business model seems to be working, the trend lines are positive. Now they can step back and take a look at the whole business plan and I think they are doing it creatively. I’m pleased.”