By unanimous vote It’s official, today’s NFL and its associated fanbase are unwelcome in the City of Roses.
Pasadena is the kind of town that was promised to your grandfather (or great-grandfather) when he came home from The War (not ‘a’ war, The War).
The palm fronds sway in unison and cast brush strokes instead of shadows over the sweet-smelling boutiques and al fresco eateries of Colorado Boulevard. The San Gabriel Mountains act as the tony valley’s giant green-specked comforter—protecting it from the snarled rope of Los Angeles Basin traffic and the endless cartoon backdrop loop of liquor stores, check cashers and car washes just five miles away in any direction.
Long ago, Pasadena managed to cloak itself in khakis and polo shirts, cocktail dresses with flats—not wedges—and while away the afternoon in the clubhouse cabana sipping something gin-like garnished with fresh mint. And the riff-raff has always obliged by keeping its distance. Opting to point it a few exits east on the 210 for that Covina Del Taco stop instead of taking a three-block detour to find themselves sipping an Apéritif at Bistro De La Gare.
Pasadenans know they have the secret. Hell, they may even know the secret’s out.
But they’re sure not gonna let you in.
This much remained true Wednesday as the Rose Bowl Operating Co. voted unanimously (11-0) to keep the NFL out of the city where basically every movie that was once the cornerstone of your DVD collection (The Graduate, Halloween, This is Spinal Tap, Teen Wolf, Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, Old School, Armageddon and even The Terminator) was shot.
The committee is comprised of 13 community members selected by the Pasadena City Council, the mayor, UCLA and the Tournament of Roses Association. Their mission to “return economic and civic value to the City of Pasadena by managing a world-class stadium and a professional quality golf course complex in a community-based environment” does not necessarily jibe with the NFL’s current mission which is to, “destroy men’s lives, fleece fans, be the short fuse for 70 percent of the nation’s domestic violence cases, profit mightily in the name of charity and never pay taxes, even if it means we have to re-incorporate as a church.”
The NFL last month sent an inquiry to five Los Angeles-area venues (the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and StubHub Center comprising the other four) to temporarily house the St. Louis Rams/Oakland Raiders/San Diego Chargers or whatever other NFL ownership wants to threaten its home taxpayer base with a move to LA in order to smash through a taxpayer-funded bond initiative to build a $2 billion mega-stadium that will benefit exactly seven old white guys while the rest of the city’s infrastructure crumbles like the Golden Gate Bridge in every summer action movie ever.
While the NFL has yet to hear from the other quartet of LA-area stadiums available on Airbnb, the league was roundly rebuffed by the Rose Bowl committee, who said (ready) a music and arts festival (which takes place in June or about as far from the NFL regular season on the calendar as Christmas is to Jesus’s actual alleged birthday) gets priority.
“We believe that a music and arts festival is more fitting with Pasadena’s brand,” said Victor Gordo, Pasadena city councilman and president of the Rose Bowl committee. “With our desire to have certainty of finances of the stadium, and to have a world-class event that’s fitting of the city.”
That last part is key, “A world-class event that’s fitting of the city (which you, the NFL are decidedly not).”
In other words, Pasadena doesn’t need your money NFL (unfamiliar sentiment, I know) and they don’t want your fanbase either.
But it goes a bit deeper than that.
The happening in question is the Arroyo Seco Music and Arts Festival. Their potential 20-year contract worth $3 million/year specifically line-item bans the NFL from using the same venue.
Why is this?
On March 10, the Los Angeles-based music and sports presenter gave up on its half-decade-long journey to build a NFL-friendly complex in downtown LA next to the Staples Center. The group spent an estimated $27 million on a Game of Thrones-length environmental impact report and another $50 million on consulting and design fees for the infill project.
“After years of work on the stadium project, including execution of a term sheet with the NFL and over a year of negotiations in earnest with the league, it has become evident that a transaction that would be satisfactory to AEG, the City and the NFL is not achievable in any foreseeable time frame,” was the released statement from Ted Fikre, AEG’s vice chairman.
Translation: The NFL fucked us.
So now it’s AEG and its little festival’s turn to do the fucking.
Doesn’t matter that the Rose Bowl committee is leaving up to $7 million/year on the table by saying no to the league. Doesn’t matter that the NFL desperately needs one of these existing stadia to come through as a month-to-month lease so they can jam that steel-toed boot in the door of LA once more. Doesn’t matter that the Rose Bowl is the most feasible of all area stadiums to be out-of-the-box ready to host an NFL game.
The bottom line is: Pasadena doesn’t want you. Doesn’t need you. Doesn’t care for your kind NFL.
Get used to it.