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Dean Spanos takes TV test, flunks

Agreement with station: won't discuss past

Dean Spanos and Paul Rudy of KUSI
  • Dean Spanos and Paul Rudy of KUSI

“KUSI sports director Paul Rudy got the chance to set [sic] down with [Dean] Spanos today but with one condition, that we only speak about the future and not the past, and we agreed.”

So began an interview last night (February 3) with Chargers chief executive Dean Spanos, given a platform on the local news station to spin fairy tales about his sudden desire to return to San Diego.

Despite the rules, the interview was billed as a "No holds barred" talk. Huh?

Spanos began by saying he never wanted to leave San Diego. If that is true, he should be sued by the mayor of Carson, where he and the Raiders planned to build a much-ballyhooed stadium. He should also be sued by Carmen Policy, who headed the effort to build in Carson; Robert Iger, the Disney executive who came on to help boost Carson; architects who drew plans for the stadium, and many others involved in the Carson push.

The truth is that the Chargers have been angling for L.A. since 1995, when they insisted that their contract with San Diego permit them to move at certain intervals.

When Mark Fabiani was hired as the Chargers spokesman in 2002, he said he would try to get a San Diego stadium, and if he couldn't achieve that, he would work on getting one in L.A. (What has happened to Fabiani anyway? This scribe predicted he would crawl into a corner if the Chargers went begging for a massive San Diego subsidy…has he?)

Of course, by the rules of the so-called interview, he couldn't be asked those questions, although I am not sure KUSI would have asked any queries intended to elicit honest answers. (At interview's end, both Paul Rudy and the anchor people agreed that Spanos was "sincere.")

Spanos lost the Carson vote 30-2, and it certainly appears that he cannot afford to get to Stan Kroenke's opulent planned Inglewood layout. He is aiming for a vote of the citizenry later in the year.

The Chargers denounced the possible Mission Valley site, but Spanos now says he will consider either downtown or Mission Valley, although he prefers the former. He says it won't be "my stadium,” it will be a "regional asset." Such poppycock. Supposedly, Spanos will have another interview on Channel 8 tonight (February 4).

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I noticed that for once he wasn't wearing his Ray-Bans. I have a real problem with a journalist, even if he's a "broadcast journalist", an oxymoronic term to many of us, agreeing to such a massive ban on questions. KUSI is utterly failing in its mission, if it claims anything involved in revealing truth. What was the point of an interview under such a stricture? I can only assume it was to gram some viewership on the cheap.

Visduh: KUSI has been a fervent backer of corporate welfare for some time. The owning family claims to be conservative, but there is nothing conservative about corporate welfare.

(Full discosure: I was on KUSI regularly for a couple of years in the early 1990s. I enjoyed it and had no problems with management.) Best, Don Bauder

The city/county have offered the Mission Valley site and $350 million--and Spanos wants a downtown site and at least twice the $350 mil the city/county have offered. I will be surprised if this even gets to the ballot, and if it does, I wonder if the ballot measure will go into specifics; mainly, how much money will be contributed by which group.

I've never seen a person tap-dance while sitting in a chair, but Spanos sure was dancing around specifics.

aardvark: The interview was pathetic, and only partly because of the agreed-upon rules. Spanos is getting bad advice. Because of all the water that has gone over the dam, it is futile for him to try and convince the public that he always wanted San Diego. It just isn't so, and San Diegans know it.

Nobody wants to admit defeat. But he should admit that he got handed his head by the NFL owners, and admit he is settling for second best. (Actually, I am not sure San Diego is in second place. This whole thing may be a charade so the Chargers can play locally in 2016, 2017, and perhaps 2018, and then move on to another city such as San Antonio or Vegas.)

I hope other media refuse to interview Spanos or Fabiani if they insist that they won't discuss the past. Best, Don Bauder

Spanos is slime as all the Spanos' are. The acorn does not fall far from the tree.

AlexClarke: I would definitely say that Dean Spanos evinces similarities with his father, patriarch Alex Spanos, now suffering from Alzheimer's. Best, Don Bauder

Spamos on TV? I hear it makes SOS worthy of the name. And Fibiani? Who cares?

Flapper: I have said for months that if the Chargers couldn't get to LA, and returned to San Diego with their tails wagging between their legs, begging for a subsidized stadium, Fabiani would have to go. I have no idea whether he is gone or whether he is now in the back room, telling Spanos what to say. If so, he is giving Spanos bad advice.

If San Diego shows signs of believing this nonsense, and votes to give the Chargers a stadium, this could make an excellent PhD dissertation for a sociologist, social psychologist, psychiatrist, or communications expert. It might even make a book. Best, Don Bauder

Bad advice? Sounds like good news to me. Maybe depose the lime ag and send it up for perjury?

Nobody reads dissertations. In book form, they are most often failures. Academics are boring. A good yarn-spinner is what is needed. And agitate, agitate, AGITATE.

Flapper: San Diego could be the laughingstock of the nation if it falls for this line and subsidizes the Chargers. Maybe there is a market for such a book. Best, Don Bauder

Either write is or get a good ghost to turn it out in three months.

Flapper: I am too old to write another book. But I will be happy to provide information to an author who wants to take it on. However, I don't think we will have an answer in three months. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe, maybe not. Get the contract, and let the publisher get the ghost.

Flapper: I am trying to think what publisher would be interested in a book about a city that swallowed a preposterous tale and awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to the spinner of the tale. Best, Don Bauder

Laughable and predictable that Spanos would come crawling back to San Diego begging for corporate welfare.

Kroenke is a big shark that devoured Spanos and Davis like a couple of minnows.

Spanos and Davis have shown little of no aptitude for business especially business at the highest levels of treachery like the NFL billionaires club.

The best "face saving" measure for both Spanos and Davis would be to sell their teams at peak value to a couple of well funded billionaires who know what the hell they are doing and can drive much harder bargains with Kroenke and the NFL billionaires club etc..

SportsFan0000: Mental minnows in a shark tank. Good analogy. I have said for some time that Spanos should sell the team. Prices for pro teams are ridiculously high now. If he sold, Spanos wouldn't have to embarrass himself. Best, Don Bauder

Mary Hillebrecht: Maybe you can get a job with the Chargers as a propagandist. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: It would be satisfying -- and economically smart -- to squeeze the NFL. But I don't think it can happen in San Diego. When it comes to dealing with the NFL, San Diego leaders are sycophants. Best, Don Bauder

all bs from Spanos. He just wants fan's money for the 2016 season before he slinks to LA.

Hobbes: Yes, he may only want the 2016, 2017 and possibly 2018 seasons before he slinks off. But I do not think he is going to LA, unless the NFL intervenes and tells Kroenke to let him in for a low price. Some say that TV revenue could cover the price Kroenke is demanding, along with the possible relocation fee. I don't buy that, because I believe if that were so, Spanos would have immediately snapped up the LA deal.

Spanos would be smart, actually, to go back to Qualcomm, but not be tied down to a long term promise to remain in San Diego. As soon as he got a better deal somewhere else, he could pounce on it and depart. Best, Don Bauder

Don: He doesn't have to stay long term, as (if I remember correctly) the Chargers only have a lease with the city until 2020, including a sliding scale of a payment needed to buy out their lease ($15.195 mil this year, dropping be roughly $3 mil/year until a $3.49 mil payment in 2020).

I also read somewhere on another site that Spanos has decided to stay here for the short term since it would save Spanos millions of dollars by, 1) Not having to pay rent here, and saving on any rent payments for the use of the Coliseum in LA on a temporary basis; 2) Saving on ads in the LA region, as he would have to blanket the region with mass media ads since the Rams already have quite the head start in the LA region, to the disadvantage to any other team who might move there; 3) Not having offices and a practice facility (yet) in the LA area. There were other reasons that someone else had mentioned, but I can't remember them at the moment, but it is safe to say that Spanos (and the NFL) would be a fool for relocating the Chargers into the LA metro area.

aardvark: The Chargers's lease is up in 2020. Spanos might want to keep the team in San Diego for a few years, then renegotiate the contract to remain at Qualcomm. If the team stayed at Qualcomm, he would not have to promise to stay for 20 or 30 years, as he would if he got a new stadium. You are right: the team would save money playing at Qualcomm for a few years.

Despite what Spanos says, he does not have an option and a deal in Inglewood that he can afford. If he did, he would snap it up quickly. He got rebuffed in LA, and apparently had no Plan B or Plan C. He faces a possible loss at the polls later this year in San Diego.

One way out of this dilemma is to sell the team. My guess is that he is searching for a multi-billionaire right now, although his two sons would be out of jobs. Best, Don Bauder

Jeffery Alan Stone: Yes, this is a good analogy: the cheating husband begging to return to his longsuffering wife of many years.

There is a reason Spanos wouldn't let KUSI ask him about the past. He doesn't want to reveal that the young hussy he ran off with lost interest in him after she picked his pocket.

When told that someone refuses to talk about the past, you have to ask why. Best, Don Bauder

Solution: The NFL players love downtown San Diego. Allow the San Diego Chargers to stay in town with ownership transferred from the Spanos family to retired NFL Players and Executives.

Allow new NFL Expansion teams including Las Vegas.

Allow the Spanos family first dibs to Las Vegas if they exchange the name "San Diego Chargers" at no costs.

Move Airport and Port CIP Planning and Regional Infrastructure projects to SANDAG.

The San Diego Unified Port District (SDUPD) and San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDRAA) would maintain daily Operations, Maintenance, and Security functions.

Only Regional Planning, Infrastructure, and Project Management would be moved to SANDAG, our State- and Federally-Mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

laplayaheritage: The NFL would never allow such a transfer of ownership. The Green Bay Packers are owned by a number of local citizens, but the NFL grandfathered that arrangement in, and will not permit it anymore. Best, Don Bauder

John Ferguson: Moving to St. Louis would be profitable for the Chargers or any other team that wanted to replace the Rams, who are going to LA. There is an indoor stadium -- only 20 years old -- that the city would give to a pro team for almost nothing, I would guess. In its stupidity, St. Louis might even build a new stadium for a team that committed to staying in the city. It wanted to build one for Kroenke, but he was free legally to leave because of the city's incredible denseness in drawing up the Rams contract. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I don't think the Chargers (if they moved to St Louis) WOULD be more profitable--just look at the last franchise listings produced by Forbes magazine. The Chargers had almost twice the operating income than the Rams ($64.8 mil vs $34 mil), and the Chargers franchise value was higher ($1.525 billion vs $ $1.45 bil). Furthermore, the Chargers wouldn't want St Louis to give them that dome, as they are quite content being a tenant, considering the rent they pay in San Diego is technically zero, and has been for years. It would be tough to beat zero, unless St Louis were to PAY the Chargers to play there. And that isn't unprecedented, since Glendale, Az has been paying the Arizona Coyotes NHL team for years to play in their arena.

Aardvark: Good points. Yes, the Chargers have an incredibly good deal in San Diego, thanks greatly to ex-mayor Richard Murphy. The team is making good money at Qualcomm. That contract is up in 2020, and the San Diego leadership is likely to give the team another lucrative contract.

St. Louis would have no nearby competitors. San Diego would lose a certain part of its market to LA, but not the 25 percent that Fabiani was initially claiming. Metro St. Louis is already a great baseball market, and has about the same population as metro San Diego.

But most importantly, Spanos would not want to go to St. Louis. He loves California and Las Vegas. St. Louis is indeed a long shot. Best, Don Bauder

Steve Tash: Newspapers all over the country slant the news in favor of subsidizing a sports team. That's because sports advertising is a big money maker. TV and radio stations will almost always tout a stadium subsidy, because they make a bundle from the presence of a pro sports team.

In many respects, journalistic ethics are a myth. Subsidized sports stadia represent one example. Best, Don Bauder

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