Los Angeles Chargers: Is it fair to blame Spanos?
By Mike Murray
The Stadium Issue
What a cluster this has been. First off, let’s clarify a few things. I heard a guy the other day say, “Spanos wanted the city to give him 1 billion dollars so he could build himself a stadium.” That is a statement that is wholly untrue but I think it represents how most people feel about the situation.
So let’s clear up a few things. First, the Spanos family was not going to own the stadium. The city of San Diego would be the owners of the stadium. The amount of money that the Spanos put toward building the stadium would give them free rent for a specific amount of time. So Spanos would essentially be leasing a building that the city owned. The Chargers were going to throw in $650 million for a 30 year lease – $350 million in cash and $300 million in a loan from the NFL.
The city was expected to come up with the rest. I believe San Diego State University was going to throw in $100 million.
Two different groups put together two measures that would increase the hotel tax to cover the cost and the voters of San Diego voted both of the proposals down.
Those are the basics and I don’t think the minutia are really important. This was a bad break up that had been brewing for a long time. These two had been working on a stadium deal for over 12 years and neither had trust in the other anymore. The city didn’t trust its leaders. The leaders didn’t really work to back the plan and the Charges definitely were trying very hard to make this marriage last.
Unfortunately, it’s the kids that always lose out in these things. Dad took his football team to L.A. and left Mom with the empty house. We don’t want to make the drive to Dad’s new place which, by the way, totally sucks . And Dad’s new girlfriend hates him, which is a total drag. We are stuck in between with no place we want to be and at night we just bury our heads in the pillow and cry so Mom doesn’t hear us.
I think the blame here needs to be spread around equally between Spanos, the city’s leaders and the city’s voters. All are to blame as they all needed to be equal partners in this deal and it was clear none of them really wanted to work to get this done.
The move to LA This is all on Spanos. L.A. was a stupid choice. I could not have imagined it going any worse. As seen in Wakeman’s article the Chargers are the least attractive sports option in L.A. With so much competition the Chargers will have a hard time gaining any interest in L.A., especially with a losing record. So, Spanos alienated his only fan base and moved to a flooded market with a struggling team in a town that does not care about football and if they did they would rather be watching the Rams or Trojans.
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In addition, they play in a crappy stadium that is filled with opposing fans. Right now they are the joke of the NFL. This could not have been planned or executed in a worse fashion. Our only hope is that the NFL steps in and puts some pressure on Spanos to do something. Either sell the team or move it to a city that wants an NFL football team and that can put together a stadium deal. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is San Diego – although I would love to see SD put together a group to buy the Chargers back.
In conclusion, I think the Spanos’ have not been entirely bad for the Chargers. There were some really great years which they deserve to take credit for. As for the current state of the football team, I think a lot of that blame falls on Telesco, which I will documenting his failures in the next couple of weeks. I think Spanos should not be entirely blamed for moving, but should take a load of blame for going to StubHub in L.A.
Unfortunately for this team and its remaining fans, I think things will only get worse. The Chargers need to find a home and it is not L.A. and Telesco needs to be replaced by someone who knows what they are doing.