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Is the Rose Bowl Ready to Officially Say “So Long” to the NFL?

Published on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 | 8:51 pm

Is the Rose Bowl’s long on again/off again affair with the NFL finally over?

With the return of the Los Angeles Rams to the LA Coliseum, and the possible return of yet another NFL team to the Los Angeles area as well, the Rose Bowl is moving quietly to officially remove itself from any further consideration by the NFL and the neighbors couldn’t be happier.

The Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC), the City entity which runs the stadium, on Tuesday recommended to the City Council that the section of the city’s Municipal Code which allowed for up to 13 National Football League (“NFL”) events over a consecutive 12-month period in the Rose Bowl be completed deleted at the conclusion of next year’s first Arroyo Seco Music and Arts Festival.

That recommendation appears to mark a quiet end to a series of divisive skirmishes between the Rose Bowl and its neighbors since 1995, the year Los Angeles lost both its professional football teams.

“That agenda item seems to be the RBOC recommending that the City remove the Municipal Code section allowing NFL games at the Rose Bowl, therefore it’s a great thing,” said Bill Urban, board member of the West Pasadena Residents Association, whichalong with other neighborhood groups, has long opposed any NFL presence in the Rose Bowl.

“We would be delighted for the RBOC to take the NFL off the table,” said Geoffrey Baum, WPRA Presidet. “I am optimistic. I think the music festival will be successful, but we are going to have to adjust the issues raised about the impact on traffic and other activities.”

In 2013, the Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo, which included the East Arroyo Neighborhood Protection Committee, the Linda Vista-Annandale Association, and the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association, filed a lawsuit to prevent the Rose Bowl from entering into any leasing agreements with the NFL. They eventually lost that suit.

“It’s a City Council decision at this point,” said Daryl Dunn, CEO/General Manager of the Rose Bowl Operating Company. “After the first [Festival] is completed, our recommendation is to take out the municipal code allowing for NFL games.”

The original wording of the RBOC’s recommendation, in fact, said that the ordinance should be dropped following the “successful” completion of next year’s first festival event. The final approved RBOC recommendation dropped the word “successful,” signifying their new dedication to the upcoming music series.

The music festival would begin in the summer of 2017, and be produced through an agreement between the Rose Bowl Operating Company and Anschutz Entertainment Group, producers of the historic New Orleans Jazz Festival and the wildly successful Coachella Music Festival in Indio.

“That (festival) has been our focus for the last few years,” Dunn said.

While the Rose Bowl and the NFL have flirted with the idea of working together since 1995, the City of Pasadena did not respond to an RFP from the NFL two years ago, and since that time, has completed a massive renovation.

According to Dunn, the costs of the renovations have necessitated the need for a long-term license agreement, such as the festival, to ensure that the Rose Bowl can honor its financing agreements as well as sustain itself in general.

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