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Disney chief backs NFL stadium joint-venture between Raiders and Chargers

By Matthew Campelli    19 Nov 2015
Several sites have been proposed for an NFL stadium in Los Angeles in recent years, but the nation's second-largest city is still without a team / Manica Architecture

The chief executive of the Walt Disney Company has given his backing to the National Football League’s (NFL) Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers as they attempt to build a stadium in Los Angeles.

Bob Iger has been named non-executive director of Carson Holdings – named after the district of LA where the mooted arena will be built – the development company set up by the two franchises. Manica Architecture is behind the designs for the Raiders/Chargers bid.

Iger's appointment was announced last week, on the day the teams’ US$1.86bn (€1.68bn, £1.24bn) joint-venture was presented to NFL leaders in New York.

A rival bid made by the owner of the St Louis Rams, Arsenal Football Club’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, to relocate to the LA district of Inglewood was also proposed.

In April, Carson City Council (CCC) unanimously approved plans for the joint-venture, but the NFL owners will not vote on the issue until January 2016.

NFL rules require that 75 per cent of the 32 owners must approve the move and only one bid can be accepted. According to CBS Sports, around “16-20” owners had shown support of the Carson project prior to Iger’s appointment.

If the joint-venture bid is accepted, Iger will have the option to acquire a minority stake in either team once his tenure at Disney comes to an end.

Iger’s contract with Disney expires in 2018, while his deal with Carson Holdings is for five years, with a reported annual compensation of US$1m (€933,000 £655,000).

He is expected to make all decisions on the stadium’s marketing and branding operations, and will settle any disputes between the Raiders and the Chargers by having the deciding vote.

Iger has been a senior executive at Disney since 2000, and has a formidable reputation in entertainment and the LA market.

Should Kroenke’s bid to relocate the Rams fail, he may continue to lease its current home, the Edward Jones Dome, or pursue a move to London to complement his Arsenal investment.

Los Angeles has not had an NFL franchise since the Rams left the Anaheim Stadium in 1994. The Raiders left LA for Oakland in 1983, while the Chargers moved to San Diego in 1961 after being founded in LA in 1960.

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