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Los Angeles unveils stadium upgrade

LOS ANGELES (April 25, 2006) -- City officials are ready to pitch their plans to the NFL for an $800 million upgrade of the aging Los Angeles Coliseum in hopes of luring a professional football team back to town.

The 67,000-seat reconstruction would include 15,000 club seats, 500 luxury boxes and state-of-the-art amenities. It would be constructed within the shell of the existing Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.

The Coliseum is used by the University of Southern California football team, but it hasn't hosted a professional team since the Raiders in 1994. They returned to Oakland the next year.

In October, the City Council agreed to allow for up to $25 million in local tax revenues generated by a stadium renovation to be earmarked for redevelopment projects around the Coliseum.

However, city officials have resisted pledges to supply money for actual stadium construction, especially at a time when the budget is running hundreds of millions of dollars in the red.

City officials hope the NFL will agree to pay for the new stadium.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city and county officials will urge the NFL on May 2 in Dallas to place an existing or an expansion team in town.

"Los Angeles is a great sports town," Villaraigosa said at a news conference at the Coliseum where city officials outlined the renovation plans.

"We have a great fan base that supports its teams," he said.

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