What exactly needs to happen to accomodate NFL in L.A. in 2016?

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson opened a considerable can of worms last week when he speculated a decision on what teams will relocate to Los Angeles might not happen in January, as originally hoped, and possibly not in time for the 2016 season at all.

Johnson told reporters after the NFL Los Angeles owners committee meeting there is still plenty of work to be done ahead of deciding whether to send the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to their joint stadium project in Carson or approving the St. Louis Rams’ Inglewood stadium bid.

Among the work still to be done: Final analysis of the viability of home market proposals. Clarifying what team or teams have satisfied league relocation guidelines. Settling on a relocation fee. Deciding whether Los Angeles can successfully absorb and support two teams immediately, or if it’s best to put one team in L.A. in 2016 and add another in 2017.

As you can see, that’s a lot to consider. So much so that the January decision could be pushed all the way to March – if not delayed another year entirely.

You’d get some argument on who benefits most from a significant delay – the Rams or Raiders and Chargers – but after doing some poking around I’m convinced no one among the three teams wants this to drag on beyond January, let alone until 2017. In fact, if I could classify the current mood, I’d say ansty pretty much sums it up.

The Raiders, Rams and Chargers want this wrapped up. Period. No one is eager to play another year in limbo. No one wants to put their current markets through another season of uncertainty. And all three teams want clarity on their long-term future or, should their L.A. bid be denied, a clearer picture on what their next move should be to help secure it.

On top of all that, the feedback I get is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is adamant about staying on track for a decision on Los Angeles in time for 2016.

Which leads us to another question. What still needs to be done to facilitate a Los Angeles move in time for 2016?

League sources insist the various buttons that need to be pushed are set up, if not finalized, on its end.

Among them, solidifying temporary playing venues, moving forward on potential conference realignment and setting up ticket sales.

The Los Angeles Coliseum is the only local venue to agree to work with the NFL so far, but league sources indicate the StubHub Center or Anaheim Stadium could also emerge as partners once a team or teams are officially identified.

And as it relates to the Raiders, they could play in their current home or perhaps the San Francisco 49ers Levis Stadium until their Carson stadium is completed.

As far as conference realignment, if the Raiders and Chargers are approved the long-range plan is for one of them to switch places with an NFC team – perhaps the Seattle Seahawks – but league sources don’t expect that to happen immediately.

The teams responsibility for a Los Angeles move range from setting up practice facilities and new team headquarters to deciding whether to re-brand.

Re-branding won’t be an issue for the Raiders and Rams, who have strong ties to Los Angeles. But the Chargers might consider a name/logo overhaul for various reasons.

First, it might help them burst onto the scene in Los Angeles and better grab the attention and imagination of local fans. By giving fans a say in picking the new name, logo and color scheme, they’d immediately feel a connection to a brand new professional sports franchise at the ground-floor level.

Second, it might be a goodwill gesture by Chargers owner Dean Spanos to leave the brand, mark and history in San Diego and leave open the possibility the San Diego Chargers might come back to life in the form of an expansion team.

As far as setting up team headquarters and practice facilities, according to sources the three teams are doing their homework on scouting out and securing locations.

As you can see, while the clock continues to tick and the work remains daunting, it appears the necessary buttons are in place and are ready to be pushed to accommodate a Los Angeles move for 2016.

The question is, are the owners ready to push the button on a final vote between January and March?

As NFL owners assess the gain of L.A., what they might leave behind weighs heavily

NEW YORK – At the very least, the two decades the National Football League has gone without Los Angeles has taught the league a thing or two about the process of getting back.

No matter what, Los Angeles will always be there. And after 20 years without it, what’s the harm in waiting another couple of months to decide how to get back?

Especially when making the absolute right decision on which team to send to Los Angeles, what stadium site they’ll call home and exhausting all options in the market or markets they’ll ultimately abandon is of such importance.

With those three objectives hanging ominously over their heads, NFL owners are treading carefully toward decision day as they try to sort out the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams competing quests to relocate to Los Angeles.

At least that seemed to be the prevailing sentiment after two days of Los Angeles owners committee meetings in New York City in which everything about the march back to Los Angeles was looked at, analyzed, argued about and dissected.

And while the talk was spirited and frank and engaging, according to sources, the process concluded with some owners leaving the NFL’s Park Avenue offices waving the caution flag.

The NFL returning to Los Angeles will happen very soon, is everyone’s belief. But the objective is to get it right. And that has as much to do with the markets they might lose as the one they will gain.

If delaying it by a month or even a year becomes necessary, well, so be it.

“There’s a lot of momentum. And I do think, at a point here in the near future,the NFL will be back in Los Angeles,” said Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. “And whether a decision’s made in January or later I don’t think it will impact that.”

It was the second day in a row an owner talked about the possibility of pushing back a decision, following the concession by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson that such a complicated situation might warrant more consideration.
Even Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who announced his support for Carson on Wednesday, emerged Thursday much more subdued.

It all represents a noticeable shift.

For months now, the NFL has targeted January to assemble its 32 owners to decide whether entry back into L.A. will come in the form of the Chargers and Raiders joint Carson project or Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium.
Or perhaps some kind of combination of two of the three teams at one or the other site.

The key being, the decision would arrive in time for the 2016 season.

But more and more, you’re hearing January isn’t as hard a drop-dead date as we thought. In fact, there might actually be some wiggle room to push a vote back.

All in the spirit of getting right in Los Angeles.

And all with the intention of allowing as much time as allowed for St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland to deliver stadium plans to keep their teams.

“It certainly can be in January but it doesn’t have to be in January,” Hunt said.

What changed?

Everything and nothing, to be honest.

The Raiders and Chargers made quite the splash this week announcing Disney CEO Bob Iger as the head of their Carson project, and it struck the appropriate nerve and created the necessary headlines. Iger injects an incredible amount of entertainment, development and stadium vision to their effort and creates confidence the Raiders and Chargers can successfully tap into all the various revenue streams Los Angeles has to offer.

But for the most part, the Carson and Inglewood projects sit exactly where they’ve been for months. Entitled, financially backed, politically approved and ready to begin the process of construction as soon as the NFL gives the green light.

As for the home markets, there is hope but concern in all three cities.

The St. Louis’ stadium proposal might not pack the necessary punch the NFL hoped, at least to not to some, and the target date for approval keeps getting pushed back.

The Rams aren’t interested, regardless.

San Diego is unable to guarantee the votes needed to approve the required public financing, and Mayor Kevin Faulconer hasn’t yet moved forward on certifying the Environmental Impact Report.

The Chargers, wary of all the risk, are full steam ahead to Carson.

In Oakland, there is no present offer on the table to help build the Raiders a stadium. Like the Chargers, it’s onward to Carson for the Silver and Black.

In other words, nothing discernible has changed in any of the home markets and the Raiders, Rams and Chargers remain steadfast in their quests to relocate to L.A.

What did change were the actual faces and voices attached to each cities fight to keep their teams, as Faulconer, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon all stood in front a group of owners this week and delivered heartfelt pleas to keep the Chargers, Raiders and Rams in their current markets.

For some owners, it was the first time hearing directly from the mayors and governors and local leaders fighting for their teams. And it seemed to have an affect, if not on the ultimate decision at least in terms of applying some breaks to the runaway train headed straight for Los Angeles.

It’s a hell of a thing, picking up beloved sports teams and moving them. And with decision day looming and the pressure mounting, the inevitable is likely happening. Owners are thinking long and hard about what they truly want to accomplish in L.A. and what they’re willing to walk away from to make it happen.

That doesn’t mean owners are bailing on L.A. or that they won’t still decide at the beginning of the New Year. But while there is much to gain, it will come at the expense of serious loss. Because of that, the NFL will tread carefully.

Chargers and Raiders add Disney CEO Robert Iger to L.A. relo efforts

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.

#Chargers #Raiders statement on bringing on Disney CEO Robert Iger

Full statement regarding #Chargers and #Raiders bringing on Disney CEO Robert Iger to head their Carson stadium project:

Robert Iger, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, has agreed to serve as the Non-Executive Chairman of Carson Holdings, LLC. Carson Holdings is the joint venture of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers formed in February 2015 that is responsible for working with the City of Carson in connection with the construction of the new
Los Angeles NFL stadium by a municipal stadium authority at the 168-acre Carson site. Mr.Iger’s work on behalf of Carson Holdings is contingent upon the National Football League owners approving the proposed LA Stadium site at Carson as the new home of the NFL in Los Angeles.

“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,” said Mr. Iger. “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.”

In his role, Mr. Iger will be responsible for hiring the President of Carson Holdings. Following Mr. Iger’s strategic direction and leadership, the President will work with the teams to oversee on a day-to-day basis the teams’ participation in the NFL LA stadium project, 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, and the successful reentry of professional football into the Los Angeles marketplace.

Mr. Iger will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company under the terms of his contract. The agreement between Mr. Iger and Carson Holdings makes clear that Mr. Iger will not be required to provide services to Carson Holdings which conflict with his Disney duties and obligations. Mr. Iger’s appointment as Non-Executive Chairman of Carson Holdings will be for an initial term of five years, with an automatic two-year renewal option. Mr. Iger’s compensation as Non-Executive Chairman will be $1.00 annually. Mr. Iger will have the option, subject to League approvals, 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.

St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland get their say to NFL; but will it be last before relocation window?

NEW YORK – New York City schools are closed Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day, but an important exam of sorts will take place at the Park Avenue offices of the National Football League.

The question for St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego is, will it be their final exams before the Rams, Raiders and Chargers officially file for relocation to Los Angeles?

The professors in this case will be the NFL’s six-owner Los Angeles Opportunity committee and the 10 owners that make up the stadium and finance committees.

Their class will be made up of representatives from St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego, and the verbal tests they take will either go a long way toward deciding who ends up in Los Angeles or just make an already complicated situation even more murky.

To add even more intrigue – and a bit of awkwardness – Rams’ Chargers’ and Raiders’ owners Stan Kroenke, Dean Spanos and Mark Davis will be in the room when their current markets make their presentations.

The key being, will this be the final time St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego stand in front of NFL owners pleading their cases before the league moves ahead on approving either the Rams relocation to Inglewood or the Chargers and Raiders moves to Carson?

According to an NFL source, that is a question for which there is no current answer. And it is largely dependent on what, if any, progress any city makes between now and the January 1st opening of the relocation window.

But with the Chargers loudly opposing the San Diego plan to help finance a new Mission Valley stadium – the Chargers believe it will fail by vote and/or be tied up for years in litigation – and the Rams focused entirely on moving to Los Angeles, any progress St. Louis and San Diego make will come without input or support from the teams.

In Oakland, meanwhile, there is no current plan on the table. To expect any viable proposal materializing between now and January is dubious at best.

The task for each city on Wednesday is convincing owners they are on the right track to locking down new stadium plans, and creating confidence within the NFL they can successfully deliver them.

A steep challenge indeed. Each city will be given 45 minutes to make their presentations followed by a question and answer and discussion period.

It is unclear how much participation the Rams, Chargers and Raiders will have, although sources indicate all three are prepared for any direction.

Of the three markets, St. Louis has the clearest path to approving a plan albeit one league sources have expressed misgivings about. The primary issue is a disagreement on the public/private split of the proposed $1 billion dollar stadium along the banks of the Mississippi River.

St. Louis math has it as a $385 million public to $610 million private. But the NFL sees it differently, the result of St. Louis financing the $158 million naming rights deal with National Car Rental to come up with $75 million dollars toward stadium construction.

The NFL considers naming rights money property of the team. And it also considers the game-day tax rebates St. Louis is proposing to pay back the Rams for use of the naming rights money property of the team as well.
Which accounts for the major discrepancy in the private/public split. The NFL sees it at $685 million from the team/league to $310 million.

Clearing that hurdle could be a challenge.

St. Louis is pinning its hopes on the NFL strictly adhering to its relocation guidelines, which stipulates teams can not move when the current market has a standing, actionable stadium offer on the table.

However, the proposal also has to be attractive and compelling to the team and league. And while it would be a bad precedent for a team to walk away from significant public contribution, it would be equally damaging from the NFL perspective to force an owner to accept an unsatisfactory deal.

In San Diego, the dilemma is time and uncertainty.

The Chargers ended talks with San Diego months ago, focusing entirely on Los Angeles, their concern being jumping on board with San Diego’s $1.1 billion stadium plan in Mission Valley only for it to fall apart either by vote or getting bogged down in litigation on the environmental impact report.

The Chargers fear is ending up with no stadium in San Diego and no spot in Los Angeles.

San Diego hopes to ease those concerns by showing NFL owners they have the necessary public support for public financing and their EIR report will prevail over any legal scrutiny.

The problem is, any public vote will take place after the relocation window opens – and presumably the subsequent NFL vote to decide which teams end up in L.A. – and San Diego doesn’t appear willing to move forward with EIR certification without a commitment from the Chargers or the NFL.

It will be interesting to see what sort of support San Diego has from the NFL at the end of the day Wednesday.

As far as moving closer to deciding who ends up in Los Angeles, two high-raking officials expect some sense of direction to begin formulating this week. The hope is a clearer picture coming into focus on what L.A. stadium proposal is preferred, or a path begins being paved toward a negotiated outcome in which all three teams can walk away satisfied with the outcome.

But first, San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland get their say.

The question being, will it be the last for any or all of them?