Imagine for a second that you live in a quaint small town. In this little oasis that you call home, there's a cute little coffee shop that everyone likes to go to. It has pretty nice patio seating and is a local hotspot with an owner that's lived in the town his whole life. He's not the wealthiest guy that's lived here, but since it's simple, convenient, and a pretty nice place it becomes the neighborhood hangout for years.
Years eventually turn to decades without much being done to the coffee shop with the original owner turning more and more to his children for advice as he ages. Under their combined control, the quality takes a nose dive. Splinters are poking out of the patio, the coffee quality itself has been degrading at an exponential rate, paint chipping on the walls, and there's only one TV that the barista has to punch a few times to get it working properly. On top of all that, the owner comes out and yells and blames the customers for this happening. He claims not to be breaking even on coffee (even though the shop is packed to the brim with outsiders) so he can't afford a nice TV that every other coffee shop you've been to has. So, people that are absolutely sick and tired of the incompetent owners who refuse to invest their profit back into their business leave to the new coffee shop 10 minutes up the road. Recently opened by a businessman from out east, this new place has flat screen TV's, high-quality coffee, and a nice owner that respects his clients.
This is where you come in. One day, the three owners come into the local bank with sweat dripping down their face. They want you, an investment analyst at the local bank branch, to ignore the lack of profitability that he has provided, and to give him a multi-million dollar loan to improve his shop. In his pitch, he cites his reputation as a great business owner that's been around for generations that always had the highest standards and a smile on his face every morning.
Your memory serves very differently.
This is what being a fan of the San Diego Chargers is like.
The Spanos family is estimated to be under a billion dollars in total asset value. For some teams in areas with cheap real estate, this is quite fine. For example Pat Bowden, the owner of the Broncos, is worth about 1.2 Billion. San Diego does not have any cheap real estate, and is trying to become a major city by stepping out of the shadow of Los Angeles.
*This stadium battle is not simply over a football team, it's the embodiment of the identity crisis that San Diego is facing*
The first thing they can do is build a multipurpose stadium to not only house the Chargers but to keep the Comic-Con crowd and maybe host a few Final Fours or an E3. But a city that is expanding tends to acquire debt, debt that San Diego is already 2 billion dollars deep into. Debt that the city cannot afford any more of. Debt that Alex Spanos wants to increase by almost 40% of its current deficit to build himself a stadium. In short, the Spanos family does not have the financial backing to properly fund a football stadium in one of the top media markets in the country.
They have also tried holding the city hostage while secretly negotiating with other teams to create a parachute, once they realized how outrageous their own proposal was in actuality. Does this sound like people that love the city of San Diego? You can argue that his refusal to immediately sell out to San Diego shows loyalty, but Dean would not be able to make as much of a profit there since he won't own the stadium. Dean will continue the façade that it's "for the city he loves" but in actuality, it's for the profit that he loves even more. The connection to SD and its fan base deteriorated rapidly when Alex gave up control to his two sons. Both of whom have never held a job outside of the Chargers organization. How do you expect to have two people who were born into the borderline billionaire family, to maintain any of the personality and humbleness of their self-made father?
Alex fought in the army in World War 2 and upon returning, built a real estate empire from an immigrant family with nothing. His father gave his life to bring his family to this city, putting the last of his money into a bakery that Alex worked at from the time he was 8. He has donated tons of money to charitable organizations in and around San Diego, never once forgetting where he came from. Alex Spanos loves San Diego. His sons, have made it clear that they do not. So, I think it's time that the city of San Diego starts returning the sentiment. It's time to call for more than just a stadium. It's time to call for more than just actually SIGNING our draft picks. It's time to break out of the small market mentality.
The time for the Spanos family to sell is now. It's time to save our Bolts.