NEW YORK – On the morning of one of the most important afternoons in their quest to relocate to Los Angeles, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers added some power, muscle and star power to their joint Carson stadium efforts.
And stole considerable thunder in the process.
The Chargers and Raiders announced an agreement with Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger, to serve as the Non-Executive Chairman of Carson Holdings, LLC with the option to buy into either franchise at a later date.
For now, Iger will be the point man in tapping into all the various Los Angeles revenue streams – from naming rights to development to entertainment for, in and around the stadium.
“Should the owners approve the move, Los Angeles will proudly welcome two incredible teams to our community and build a stadium worthy of their fans,” Iger said in a statement. “LA football fans will enjoy unprecedented access to games during the season, in a state of the art stadium designed to deliver the most entertaining, exciting and enjoyable experience possible.”
The question is, will the addition of Iger be a game-changer in the Raiders and Chargers race to Los Angeles and perhaps elbow out the St. Louis Rams, who are focused on moving to Inglewood?
Some light might be shed on that question Wednesday in New York when the Raiders, Chargers and Rams meet with the NFL’s six-member L.A. owner’s committee. The committee will also hear 45-minute presentations from St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego stadium organizers.
The league’s 32 owners will gather in Dallas next month, at which point a clearer picture will come into focus, with a vote expected in January to decide what team or teams and which stadium site will be approved.
Adding Iger will pack a powerful punch for the Raiders and Chargers, as it helps ease some NFL concerns that the two teams can properly market and take advantage of the various L.A. revenue streams available.
Iger, with his long-time entertainment and development connections, will have a hand in all phases of the Carson effort including the design and construction of the stadium, the fan experience on game day, the marketing of the stadium to the Los Angeles region, the branding of the location and venue.
Iger will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company under the terms of his contract. He has joined the Carson effort on a five-year basis with an automatic two-year renewal option.
Although he will be paid just $1 dollar annually, Iger will have the option to acquire a minority, non-controlling equity ownership interest in one of either the Raiders or Chargers. Mr. Iger has committed not to exercise his option until he departs his role as Disney’s Chairman and CEO.