Walt Disney Company Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger has been selected by the NFL's San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to lead a proposed football stadium project in Carson.
Iger will be the nonexecutive chairman of Carson Holdings LLC, according to a statement released by the joint venture of the two NFL teams, whose owners have expressed interested in sharing a stadium in the community south of downtown Los Angeles. Iger's role will involve working with the city and developing strategies around stadium development, including its appearance and fan experience.
"It will be his vision, and his leadership and guidance that will direct ... the entire project," said Carmen Policy, executive director of Carson Holdings, LLC, the joint venture created by the Raiders and Chargers to bring about the Carson stadium and team relocation.
The Los Angeles area has not had an NFL franchise since the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season. A franchise move would require approval from NFL owners.
"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."
Policy made clear that Iger will not be managing the project on a day-to-day basis. For that role, Iger will select a president he will oversee. Iger, 64, is under contract to remain chief executive of the Disney Company through June 2018.
The Carson proposal is, in effect, in competition with another proposed stadium in Inglewood on property acquired by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and now part of a planned community development on the site of the former Hollywood Park horse racing track. The Inglewood proposal envisions hosting only one team, presumably the Rams.
Carson boosters see the addition of Iger as a boon to their project's chances.
"This is a game changer," said Policy in an interview with NBC4's Bay Area sister station KNTV. "How good is it when you have the person who's in charge of providing the fans with the greatest possible experience — as the same person who operates the 'happiest place on earth?'"
News of Iger joining the Carson team broke Wednesday morning in the Los Angeles Times on the very day NFL owners were meeting at league headquarters in New York City to hear presentations from the three cities — San Diego, Oakland, and St. Louis — that hope to keep their teams.
Neither Policy nor Iger attended this meeting. Iger was said to be in Florida on Disney business.
For his services to Carson Holdings, Iger will be paid a token $1 a year. However, should the Carson Project come to fruition, Iger will have the option to acquire a minority ownership position in either team.