Not much time is left in 2015 for the NFL‘s to get a NFL franchise to return to the LA market. At least not for the 2016 season. Enter once more the Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger who is doubling down on his determination to bring the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders Los Angeles.
Iger is not shy about making his efforts and feelings known. “I’ve been selling hard,” Iger said Thursday as he shared his first public statements on the matter. For those not aware the Chargers and Raiders publicized his in November he was involved in an effort to move the two NFL teams to a new- not yet built stadium- in Carson California.
It is an interesting situation to be sure. Iger, who has 2 years left on his contract with Disney, has emphatically agreed to step in and spearhead the NFL efforts if in fact the League owners select Carson instead of the Inglewood stadium proposal sought by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Part of an Iger-NFL deal stipulates he would only take$1 in salary in such a partnership but would receive an ownership stake in the Chargers and Raiders. Very interesting indeed.
Apparently Iger is a longtime NFL fanatic and has stated he had been a Packer fan since a he was a young boy. And if anyone were to question his love for the Green Bay Packer he’ll just point to the bust of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi he has just outside his Disney headquarters office.
Iger was available to multiple media outlets past Thursday where Disney has its Burbank, California Headquarters. He gave a 30 minute interview with print reporters. Iger stated he was originally approached by the Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, while meeting with him in L.A. this past summer.
According to Iger the gist of that conversation went like this…”He (Richardson) asked whether I’d be interested in helping very specifically the partnership of the Raiders and Chargers move to L.A., develop a stadium, reposition themselves here”. “I engaged in conversations with Jerry, and then with both entities.”
So that relationship may possibly ruffle some feathers throughout the league based on the fact that Richardson is a member of the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, which is composed of six owners who make recommendations to the other 26 owners around the NFL. Can you csay conflict of interest? It is -or was- generally assumed that these committee members are neutral, objective, whatever. Richardson has openly claimed he backs the Carson project.
Iger say however that he did not immediately inform the league he had had those early conversations with Richardson. “When Jerry approached me, he asked for some degree of confidentiality. I didn’t discuss it until much later with the league.”
The NFL has January 12-13 on the calendar to hold a special meeting in Houston when owners could vote on weather or not the St Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have fulfilled their respective relocation requirements. They will also vote on various aspects of the two L.A. plans. For such plans to pass muster, any such initiative requires the approval of a three-quarters majority of NFL owners, which means 24 votes. Iger is not saying definitively if he will attend the Houston meetings.
More on Iger the NFL, the Raiders, and Chargers in the Next Blog…