Everyone else has written open letters to San Diego Chargers’ “Owner - Chairman of the Board” Dean Spanos, and I don’t even think this is my first one, so I decided to pen one this morning.
I read it to kick off my podcast this morning, and I highly recommend listening to it to hear the emotion behind it.
If you would prefer reading the letter instead of hearing it, here you go:
Dear Mr. Spanos,
I am here to tell you to leave San Diego and go to Los Angeles. I know that sounds crazy coming from someone who has been one of the biggest fans of the San Diego Chargers over the last 18 seasons, but I believe it is important to sometimes step away from the emotions that are tied to our fandom and look at the situation with a level head.
I’ve lost track of how many times I have said, or have heard others say, “It’s a business,” when referring to a move that the Chargers have made. Trading Junior Seau? It’s a business. Cutting Rodney Harrison and LaDainian Tomlinson? It’s a business. Letting Eric Weddle walk away into free agency? It’s a business.
When it comes to the high-emotions game of whether to keep the Chargers in the same city that they have inhabited for 55 years or whether to leave an entire fanbase, generations that have screamed their throats bloody in support of their team on Sunday afternoon, it was easy to lose track of this one simple fact: This is a business and you are a businessman.
Many will ask why you pursued a privately-financed stadium in Carson, California and did not do the same in San Diego. Others are still asking why the team is willing to pay a 650 million-dollar relocation fee to become tenants in Inglewood, California, but unwilling to put that same money towards a stadium project in Mission Valley. I know the answer.
There is no amount of money that you, Dean Spanos, could put into San Diego that would double the value of the team that your family owns. However, that is exactly what will happen when the San Diego Chargers move 122 miles north to Inglewood (or the L.A. Coliseum, which is also 122 miles from Qualcomm Stadium).
And I know you’re not cash-rich. Many NFL owners are not. Most that have owned their team for generations, as you have, purchased their team for even less than the $48.3 million that your father Alex spent in 1984. The majority of your wealth, Dean, and your family’s wealth is tied up in the value of the team. Sure, you have millions in your bank account, but not enough to write a check for 650 million-dollars for relocation. For that, you need a special waiver to take on more debt than the league usually allows.
So, what are you to do? Your family’s future is tied to the value of this franchise. The value of the franchise doubles if you take the easy path up to Los Angeles, a path where you no longer ever have to worry about citizens’ initiatives or construction costs or anything but putting a good team on the field.
It’s the right business move, even if it breaks your heart and mine. Even if the entire county of San Diego will cry for years over the loss of a franchise that, at times, felt more like family……this is a business and you are a businessman. I won’t blame you for choosing business over heartstrings, if that is what you eventually choose.
If you’re interested in listening past the part of the podcast about the Chargers, I also talk a bit about the San Diego Padres and the San Diego State Aztecs football team (which plays in the Las Vegas Bowl this weekend).