By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - AEG has dropped its project to build a National Football League stadium in downtown Los Angeles, the entertainment company said, following moves by two groups that put forward competing stadium plans this year for suburbs of the city.
The statement late on Monday from Anschutz Entertainment Group, which launched its effort to build a stadium in 2010, came ahead of an April 17 deadline imposed by Los Angeles for the company to lure an NFL team to the city.
The Los Angeles region, which is the nation's second-largest sports market, has been without an NFL team since the Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis and the Raiders moved to Oakland, in northern California, before the start of the 1995 season.
The proposed stadium would have been located in downtown Los Angeles next to the city's convention center. Critics had expressed concern it could create a traffic quagmire in an already densely packed area, and in recent months AEG saw competing proposals attract the limelight and the backing of NFL teams.
"We are no longer in discussion with the NFL or any NFL team," Ted Fikre, vice chairman of AEG, said in a statement.
In 2011, AEG announced a deal with Farmers Insurance for the naming rights to its proposed stadium that would have been worth $700 million if the project, which would have been called Farmers Field, was constructed.
Last October, AEG obtained a six-month extension from city officials to attract an NFL team, but has been unable to do that.
The project would have cost $1.5 billion and AEG would have needed to place two NFL teams at the stadium with a discounted ownership stake in one franchise for the project to financially pencil out, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A spokesman for the NFL did not return a call or email seeking comment on Tuesday.
The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders last month proposed a plan that would have the two teams share a $1.7 billion stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson if they fail to solve their current venue dilemmas.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke's announced in January that he has teamed up with Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the 238-acre (96-hectare) Hollywood Park site in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, to potentially build a football stadium for his team.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Leslie Adler)