Spanos All-Star Classic: no news good news?

No word from team on pulling plug on high school playoff

Like the fortunes of the family's football team, the name Spanos has had its ups and downs in San Diego.

Will the super-rich Stocktonians cut a deal with billionaire Walmart spouse and San Diego property owner Stan Kroenke and move to Los Angeles, or choose to place their bets with Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and his promise of major tax dollars to build a new sports palace somewhere in town?

Similarly, the fate of the annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic, to be held 6 p.m. Saturday at San Diego Mesa College Stadium, also hangs in the balance.

The event, marking its 26th anniversary, is usually held in July, but the latest version has been pushed up to this month, creating a decent interval before the team's possible San Diego exit.

"As a gathering of the best graduating seniors in the County, the Spanos Classic provides players and their families with lasting memories and one final opportunity to demonstrate their skills before continuing their football careers on the collegiate level," says an online news release by the Chargers.

"San Diego residents have come to see the game as an annual tradition and summer staple," the release continues.

"Chargers owner Alex Spanos began support of the all-star game more than two decades ago when the future of the game was in jeopardy. Since that time, the Spanos Classic has grown to become the preeminent high school all-star football game in California."

Alex Spanos

Alex Spanos

Reportedly a victim of a brain-wasting disease who has turned control of the family fortunes over to his son Dean, Alex Spanos, along with allies Jim and Helen Copley, owners of the Union and the Evening Tribune newspapers, once fueled San Diego's GOP establishment with big money, including major sponsorship of the Republican convention here in 1996.

Critics asserted that was payback for Golding's support of a 1995 ticket buying guarantee from taxpayers that backers said would also guarantee the football team's continued tenure here.

As Dean's desires have turned northward, the charitable giving of the team has declined, with Chargers Charities, a nonprofit set up by the elder Spanos to benefit local causes, posting $466,089 in income from unidentified contributors and grants in 2013, down from $627,414 in 2008, and $708,286 in 2003, with some poorer years in between.

Admission to Saturday's All Star Classic is $10 for adults, $5 for children. "All proceeds go to support the High School Sports Association of San Diego," says the Charger's release.

The nonprofit high school sports association had total revenue of $50,067 during the twelve months ending in June 2014, according to the group's most recently available IRS filing. $33,601 came from contributions and grants.

Grants made by the association during the period totaled $13,500. Those, combined with fees to contractors and other expenditures, added up to total expenses of $73,923, for a 12-month deficit of $23,856, according to the filing. The group's period-ending fund balance was listed as $34,820.

Expenses incurred by the charity specifically for the 2013 All Star game ran $19,791, the filing says; other costs included $9930 to put on an All Star Breakfast.

This year, an All Star dinner banquet is to be held the night of January 14 at the Marina Village on Mission Bay, according to the group's website.

Reached by phone this week, sports association president Tricia Dolan said that the bulk of contributions to her group have come from the Chargers. "This is the only high school all-star game sponsored by an NFL team," she noted.

Dolan said the association has heard nothing yet from the Chargers about discontinuing their donations, and the group hopes the team can be convinced to continue sponsoring the annual Spanos event even if it leaves for Los Angeles.

"We are eternal optimists," she said, adding that, so far, "It's a no news is good news kind of thing."

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Not to worry the idiot politicians and stupid fans will do everything they can to keep the Chargers here. Giving taxpayer money to billionaires and millionaires is stupid. We, the taxpayer, owe on the original stadium, the remodel and still must pay for maintenance. Most of the Spanos wealth is the Chargers so they will sell the team unless they can get the stupid taxpayer to build them a new stadium.

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