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Disney chief joins Raiders’ L.A. bid

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Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, has agreed to lead the effort to build a stadium for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers in the Los Angeles area should NFL owners approve the teams’ move. (Chris Pizzello/Invision via AP)
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NEW YORK — Bob Iger, the chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, has been appointed by the Raiders and San Diego Chargers to head their proposed stadium project in Carson, Calif.

Iger will serve as the non-executive chairman of Carson Holdings LLC, the joint venture of the two NFL teams, and will be responsible for working with the city of Carson on the project. He will be responsible for hiring a president, and be the project’s strategic leader who provides a vision for what the stadium should look like, the fan experience, how fans get on and off the site, etc.

“Bob Iger’s inclusion as a the chair and the visionary force behind the Carson project is a game-changer,” said former 49ers executive Carmen Policy, executive director of Carson Holdings, LLC. “We now have the kind of leadership and expertise that should calm any concerns about any NFL teams going into L.A. and getting off on the right foot and pursuing the right course. And certainly if you’re going to do two teams it really lends a layer of talent and experience, plus unbelievable know-how to the whole effort.

“Who could we get better to guarantee fan experience than the man who runs the happiest place on earth?”

Disney owns ESPN, and Iger has a working relationship with many of the NFL owners as well as Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has joined hands with Chargers owner Dean Spanos as they compete with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who is backing a stadium and accompanying development in Inglewood on the old Hollywood Park site.

In a written statement released by the Chargers, Iger said: “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. L.A. 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.”

Iger, who was at a company conference in Orlando, Fla., did not attend the NFL meetings Wednesday in which the cities of Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis made presentations to the league owners.

The proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood faces a new challenge, after the Federal Aviation Administration released a preliminary report saying the venue at the former Hollywood Park site is “presumed to be a hazard to air navigation.”

The 27-page report warned the proposed $1.86-billion stadium in Inglewood could interfere with radar that tracks inbound aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport.

“The configuration of the stadium between the two runways coupled with the uncertainty of its reflective properties is the root cause of the objection to this proposal,” the report said.

The report offered various possible solutions that included relocating the stadium, reducing the height by more than 100 feet, reshaping the exterior or covering some surfaces with material that absorbs radar or isn’t reflective.

The findings allow the developers, including Kroenke, to resolve the issues although it could add time and expense to a plan that architects have been working on for more than a year. The proposal has been entitled, designed and, planners, say, the preparation work to begin construction on the 290-acre site is nearly completed.
“I had no doubt at all that we will all work out a reasonable set of mitigation measures and we will all be happy,” said Chris Meany, senior vice president of the Hollywood Park Land Co., which controls the property.

“There is nothing about this that isn’t in the ordinary course of business. This is the process you go through.”

An FAA spokesman emphasized the report isn’t a final determination, but an initial step to open negotiations with the project backers. They can take steps to mitigate the concerns or submit evidence in an effort to show the stadium wouldn’t affect the airport radar.

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