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Bigger than we think

first_imgWe aren’t important enough or hip enough to be otherwise. We don’t have enough money. There aren’t enough of us. We are a Los Angeles/ We bring our inferiority complexes with us. East on the 10, the 60, the 91, the 210. To our homes in Chino, Colton, Redlands, Victorville. We already “know” it: The Inland Empire is minor league. Orange County afterthought. Even as development explodes, population soars and our demographics trend steadily upward. We not only don’t mind not having major-league sports, we don’t even expect them. Never mind that the combined population of San Bernardino and Riverside counties is about 4 million while our aggregate income approaches $90 billion. It’s time to think big. And bigger. A significant step toward a collective shout of “I am somebody!” occurred this week, when the city of Ontario broke ground on a $130 million arena, to near-universal acclaim. center_img It is a first for a stunningly under-served region: A glittering indoor venue that can play host to professional basketball and hockey, not to mention concerts and family shows of all sorts. Exactly the sort of thing no one in the IE had the vision or will to make happen, until Ontario did. But it isn’t as if we’re building Staples Center here. Or even the Honda Arena. Ontario’s arena will seat about 10,000 for professional sports. And those sports will, in fact, be minor league. Perhaps the ECHL of hockey. The NBA Development League. Maybe some lower-level incarnation of arena football. The indoor equivalents of baseball’s California League, which has four franchises in the IE. That’s cool, for now, because we’re starting from Ground Zero. Can’t even be minor league in indoor sports when you’ve never had an indoor for them to play in. But down the line, we need to act and think like a big market – because we are. A market bigger than Tampa-St. Petersburg (2.5million people). Richer than Kansas City ($77.4billion), Milwaukee ($75.7) and Buffalo ($41.4). All those are “major league” cities. With all the mental, emotional and financial boosts that go along with that designation. The population and income figures cited here come from a study done a year ago by G.Scott Thomas of bizjournals.com. A study that shucked traditional thinking about what is major league (Buffalo) and what is not (us) and looked purely at population and purchasing power – two statistics in which we are big and getting bigger. Tim Lieweke, president of AEG, owners of Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings, agreed the Inland Empire already has many of the hallmarks of “big league.” “Could this area have its own NBA or NHL team in the future?” he asked himself during a conversation at the Ontario arena ground-breaking. “Yes. But it’s going to take some years to develop the area. Maybe 10 years?” That’s a lot shorter than “never” – which is how most of us think. People who look at these numbers unemotionally see an area prepared to support any sort of franchise. Including Major League Baseball, the most capital-intensive of all sports, requiring a collective income of $89.2billion, by bizjournals.com analysis – which is almost exactly what the IE generates now. Admittedly, the IE is hurt by not existing in a vacuum. Buffered by 100 miles of emptiness. We remain part of the L.A. media market, damaging a team’s ability to develop its own electronic advertising streams. We also will have to go to war with the Dodgers and Angels if we want a ball team, the Lakers and Clippers if we think “NBA,” the Ducks and Kings, on the NHL front. Curiously, perhaps our best chance at a local big-league team might be the National Football League. No current NFL team in L.A. or Orange County to object. How big would the Raiders be, in the IE? The 49ers? Even the Chargers? Think we could fill a stadium 10 times a year for the NFL? All we need is a stadium. (Oh, if only Fontana had built a football stadium instead of an under-used race track!) So far, Ontario seems to be the only IE city thinking big. Greg Devereaux, city manager, has talked of the possibility that a second 20,000-capacity arena could be built on the parking lot of the coming Citizens Business Bank Arena, with a multi-level parking structure constructed to house the extra vehicles. Maybe 10 years from now – the period of time Lieweke suggested – it will make sense. Maybe the Clippers will be ready to leave Staples. Or any number of NHL franchises will be eager to get into the Sun Belt. What can we do? For starters, stop talking ourselves down. Our leaders need to make sure others understand the collective economic clout of this region. And our citizens – you and me – need to stop thinking of ourselves as L.A. refugees good only as seat-warmers for L.A.’s teams. It could happen. Major league teams in a major league market. This one. Think of Ontario’s arena as Step 1 on the journey. DAILYBULLETINFor more musings from columnist Paul Oberjuerge check out his blog at dailybulletin.com/sports. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Pellegrini confirms Nasri interest and discusses Arnautovic exit rumours

first_img 3 Arnautovic, meanwhile, is the subject of fresh transfer speculation after his brother and representative hinted during the international break that the Austrian forward, 29, should be at a club higher up the table.But Arnautovic is a key figure at West Ham with five goals to his name this season and Pellegrini is determined not to lose him.“He is a West Ham player because he has a contract here, he is happy here,” said Pellegrini.“Every player always wants to play in the biggest team but I don’t think that Marko is thinking about that. Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Latest Football News ADVICE Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Carroll has been out of action since the summer 3 huge blow Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card West Ham do hope to sign Samir Nasri in January according to manager Manuel Pellegrini, who also insisted Marko Arnautovic is going nowhere.Midfielder Nasri, who played for Pellegrini at Manchester City, is training with the Hammers to build up his fitness following an 18-month doping ban. “He is thinking about West Ham and he tries to make his best performance in every game.”Pellegrini has been boosted by the return of Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere ahead of the visit of champions City at the weekend.Striker Carroll has yet to figure this season after aggravating an ankle problem during the summer, but he played 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly at Brentford last week and is in contention for a place on the bench. BEST OF Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move REVEALED 3center_img Nasri could reunite with his former manager Arnautovic is currently leading West Ham’s scoring charts Pellegrini needs reinforcements to his injury-hit West Ham squad and he will offer Nasri a contract if the 31-year-old Frenchman can get up to speed.“Samir Nasri is working here with us,” said Pellegrini.“It’s a long time that he had his ban but we are giving him a hand to return to football.“I hope that from now until the end of the year he will be fit, and if that is the case we will try to keep him here at West Ham.” RANKED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won shining no dice Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? MONEY Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury REVEALED Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions REPLY Midfielder Wilshere, who has been out since the start of September with his ankle injury, is also back in training but may not be risked just yet.Captain Mark Noble returns from a ban but fellow midfielder Robert Snodgrass is suspended.last_img read more

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