Today the saddest day ever for Chargers fans

Team owner Spanos declares they're heading north

Dean Spanos
  • Dean Spanos

San Diego Chargers chairman Dean Spanos made it official this morning: the team is moving to Los Angeles for the 2017 season. Spanos met with employees this morning.

Spanos handed out a statement: "After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 season." He continued, "San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be a part of our identity…. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new sera as the Los Angeles Chargers."

This suggests the team will retain the Chargers brand; that could prove to be a mistake, because the Chargers are not popular in L.A.

Local and national media are claiming this morning that the move is the fault of San Diego: its taxpayers wouldn't subsidize the team. This shows the insufferable hubris of the billionaires who own the league teams and the media who fawn all over them. They expect taxpayers to finance billionaires' stadiums.

The Chargers began going down two tracks since the stadium — now named Qualcomm — was altered in 1995. The team claimed it wanted to stay in San Diego, but its spokesperson, Mark Fabiani, warned that it was also considering Los Angeles. The value of the franchise will probably soar when it occupies a new home, the stadium in Inglewood being built by multi-billionaire Stan Kroenke. The team is likely to play in a Carson soccer stadium seating a maximum of 30,000 until the Inglewood stadium is finished in 2019.

The Chargers have suffered extremely low crowds — around 54,000, worst in the league — in recent seasons, with fans from visiting teams often filling more than half the seats. The team also presented a fatuous proposal for a combined stadium and mini-convention center, called a "convadium." It got only 43 percent at the polls last November.

San Diego can be proud. It will be known as one of the first big cities to tell a professional sports team that there are better uses for taxpayer money than subsidizing a billionaire's sports team. Massachusetts and San Francisco have thumbed down mendicant teams, which eventually shelled out their own money for stadiums, with taxpayer help on infrastructure. Los Angeles has let team owners know there will be no subsidies. But I think San Diego is the first city to lose a team after turning down a demand for a subsidy.

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Two thoughts:

FIRST Well it's the end of an era of 'San Diego Charger' football and the endless drama regarding the fleecing of the taxpayers by weak kneed politicians.

It also means it's the beginning of something good for San Diegans! Now is the time for our elected leaders, who were promising hundreds of millions to a private entertainment business, owned by a billionaire, to put forth a real plan to fix our infrastructure needs.

SECOND I realize this is wishful thinking, but Mr. Kronke did buy the land and is paying for his own facility, maybe the tide is turning on the fleecing of taxpayers.

JustWondering: Excellent thoughts: 1. Yes, now there should be money for San Diego to start fixing the rundown infrastructure. 2. Los Angeles does not give subsidies to sports team owners. Now San Diego is in that camp. San Francisco has helped teams with the infrastructure, but otherwise isn't handing out subsidies. California leads the way again. Best, Don Bauder

Ron Roberts cried when he heard the news. I delight in those sweet, sweet, tears.

"Good riddance Chargers! Aztecs football, you're next!"

San Diego has suffered enough from sports scavengers and parasites like Spanos. When John Moores is finally jailed for his Padres-related crimes against the city, and former city manager Jack McGrory finally gets the public contempt he earned for being a traitor, my satisfaction will be complete.

Fred Williams: Moores should have gone to prison for his role in Peregrine, San Diego's biggest fraud. Friends in Washington DC such as George W. Bush and Jimmy Cater got him off. Moores screwed San Diego on the ballpark deal (raking in $700 million to $1 billion on land that was almost given to him by the city council), but that won't put him behind bars. People below him, whom he had appointed did go to prison. Best, Don Bauder

But perhaps one of the happiest days for many of the other 57% of us. A lot of pimp sports writers will be looking for new work. They always talked as if most of the citizens really wanted the team to stay regardless of the cost. And what's happened to Mark Fabiani (fittingly, simply MF, to many of us)?

I'm sure Fabiani is behind the scenes, orchestrating the little charade by Spanos--announcing the move on the morning of the mayor's State of the City address. Fabiani is still getting paid by Spanos, and happy as a pig in slop.

aardvark: Fabiani's assignment was to alienate San Diego, so the NFL would approve a move of the team. Fabiani did a splendid job. He deserves an award for reverse public relations. Trouble is, after he had alienated San Diegans, the Chargers got a lousy deal in L.A. and tried to make friends in San Diego again. But this time, too many locals weren't biting. Best, Don Bauder

geouse: Yes, it is a very happy day for those of us who have preached for years that subsidies for billionaire sports team owners is colossal folly. Best, Don Bauder

Sad day for this 57 percenter. I did not want the Chargers to leave. But I don't think public money should subsidize the NFL.

ImJustABill: If you oppose subsidies for billionaire owners, as you should, you won't be able to keep the Chargers in San Diego. The Spanos family insists on getting welfare. It won't get it in L.A., but is convinced that with the size of that market, it won't need to be subsidized. Best, Don Bauder

Another institution that will be gone...the UT.

There's no longer any purpose for that trash fire. Without devoting half it's pages to drooling and sniffing over athletic supporters, what's left?

The sports page, according to many, was the last profitable bit of that paper. Now without the Chargers, I predict the long ago dishonored UT will be off the streets of San Diego by this time next year.

Fred Williams: The UT will last longer than that -- in my opinion, anyway. It slanted its coverage of the Chargers just as it had slanted coverage of the Padres' ripoff, but it also had some good pieces by McSwain. I have never been convinced that bad news coverage doomed a newspaper, but times are changing. Between Canepa and Acee, the UT's coverage was maudlin. Readers probably figured out that those slanting the news were protecting their own jobs.

The UT has other problems, too. Delivery is a mess. The paper is printed in LA and that is causing reams of problems. At some point, the public will get sick of it, but not as soon as you predict -- I think. I have learned not to bet against you. Best, Don Bauder

I think if there was no anti-trust exemption for the NFL we would have an NFL (or similar league's) team in SD without having to make a large taxpayer contribution.

build a good team of real college players ( not over paid hulks) and challenge ( call them chicken) one of the nfl teams for a "fun " game and whip their heinies

It might just show the fans ( suckers) what a big put on it really is.

geouse: Fabiani is laughing all the way to the bank. He was hired in 2002 and as far as I know is still on the payroll. The last I heard he was also working for Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate worth $32 billion. Adelson controls the main paper there, and it is enthusiastically backing the stadium that could be built for the Raiders, greatly with taxpayer money. Adelson has lots of equity in that, too. Perfect client for Fabiani. Best, Don Bauder

Gangster mentality. Sociopaths. Easy to spot. They transcend ugly.

CaptainObvious: Cities should spend money on necessities -- streets, sidewalks, sewers, water, drain pipes, libraries, etc.Cities should NOT spend money subsidizing billionaire sports team owners. Congratulations, San Diego! Best, Don Bauder

Why are you celebrating the fact that your fellow citizens are going to be losing their jobs? I also don't think it is fair to equate journalism with pimping. This is a really sad day for a lot of people. I would caution against any outward displays of glee today in San Diego, you are liable to get your ass beat.

Well for those who would resort to violence over the loss of a sports team, with a long history of losing, as well as ownership who really only cares about profits and lining their pockets with the taxpayer's hard earned dollars, the prospects of jail awaits them. Remember, loyalty goes both ways, just not with the Spanos family.

While the failing U-T will most likely trim the sports desk, the likelihood of job losses will not materialize. If our elected leaders start addressing San Diego's real needs, good paying jobs are in order. Not temporary concession hawkers peddling crap food and enormously overpriced beer and soft drinks.

JustWondering: Excellent point. Those who made money cleaning up the stadium after a game should be able to find jobs cleaning up rundown areas of the city. Those who flipped hamburgers should be able to find jobs in fast food joints, which have rapid employee turnover. Best, Don Bauder

horatio24: It is a sad day for vendors, cleanup crews, ticket takers, etc., who will lose jobs. I do not feel a bit sorry for billionaire owners and millionaire players who will change locations.

Nor do I feel sorry for those in the media who slanted the news in favor of the city wasting money on billionaire sports team owners. Best, Don Bauder

I think there is an answer for Horatio. All the money that ticket buyers poured into the Spanos coffers, and all the money spent at the stadium on wildly overpriced food, souvenirs, and especially suds will now be in the pockets of the former attendees. They'll have more money to spend on things that are often real necessities, such as adequate food, medical care, dental care, clothes, car repairs, and will spend much of the old Charger money that way. Oh, they'll also spend on other entertainment venues like concerts, movies, Aztec games, etc. All of those dollars flowing into other activities will mean jobs, many jobs. Moreover, without the drain of the cost of season Charger tickets, small businesses will prosper, and their owners will have money to put into charitable activities. And that means jobs again. In other words, the money that went into supporting the Chargers and their stadium appearances isn't gone--it is just being redirected. That silly piece on the front of the U-T today (Saturday) about the loss of Charger charity is phony. There will be more, not less, money in the area that can go to charitable operations.

Visduh: Yes, that is solid economics. The money that will no longer be spent on the Chargers can go to a variety of things -- particularly socially uplifting projects. Best, Don Bauder

Fat, lazy, stupid football fans? They can't hardly get off the couch, except to get sloshed at a sports bar with other athletics supporters.

Chargers fans have threatened, bullied, and made childish demands from the rest of San Diego for far too long. We've taken over from you delinquents now, and you can play your debilitating games elsewhere.

You don't like it, move to L.A. fools.

Fred Williams: The Chargers started laying plans for a possible trip to L.A. in 1995, the year the Q (then the Murph) was rejiggered for football. In 1995, the team insisted on a clause that permitted them to get out of town every few years. Bruce Henderson correctly called it a road map to L.A. When Fabiani was hired in 2002, he said he would work to get a stadium in San Diego -- or L.A. I was writing back then that the Chargers were going down two tracks -- L.A. and a new stadium in San Diego. Finally, they got on the L.A. Train. It may prove to have been a mistake. Best, Don Bauder

Now our next concern should be that our sleazy, breezy, Cover Mayor doesn't go secretly promising our tax dollars to relocate some other, any other NFL team, so that he can claim he kept San Diego a pro football town (at our expense).

Cassander: That is a good point. The establishment will go to work trying to bring a team like Jacksonville or Buffalo to San Diego, or trying to get the NFL to put an expansion team in San Diego. That will be fine if it does not involve subsidies or the construction of a subsidized stadium. But if it is going to eat up taxpayer money, people should begin opposing such a strategy right now. Best, Don Bauder

Best way to do that...target Aztecs football next.

Football contributes nothing valuable to a community, while causing great financial, psychological, and physical harm.

No more public money for a game that permanently injures, and kills, dozens of kids every year.

Going after Aztecs football, a wasteful, losing, pointless appendage grafted onto what is supposed to be an educational institution, is the next step.

Fred Williams: Your timing may be off. It seems to me I read that for the first time, the Aztecs were voted into the top 25 teams of the season. They have emotion on their side. Best, Don Bauder

I don't know about Aztec football, but football at the local high school level pays for, or substantially supports, all the other sports for the kids. School Boards all over the county have decimated athletic activity budgets and the sale of tickets to games offsets the costs of all sports. For the most part athletics at the high school level has a very positive impact on those who participate, teaching concepts of team work, honing interpersonal skills and reducing the amount of idle time and opportunities for mischievous acts or worse.

I see Mayor Faulconer has the spin cycle in overdrive. [link text][1]. He'll do and say ANYTHING not to be saddled with the title of the Mayor who let the Chargers get away. His future political opponents will bask in it, proving, once and for all, he's a nice guy who doesn't really lead and can't close a deal.

[1]: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-me-faulconer-reaction-20170112-story.html / "Faulconer Spins Charger Exit"

JustWondering: The establishment was thrilled when it lynched Filner, who was willing to build a stadium if the city got one-fourth ownership of the team. The result was Faulconer. Are the downtown oligarchs still thrilled?

Incidentally, the league would never have permitted the city getting a chunk of the ownership. Best, Don Bauder

I won't believe they are moving until it's reality. They can't be believed any other time, why now? This is just an escalation of the drama. The only thing they have done so far is take the Dodgers logo and italicized it and 5 minutes worth of code changes to their social media.

I think even if they 'move' to L.A. to play games, they will still be heavily engaged in local politics and more drama generated by them to get the rabid fans out in force. They are only a tenant in L.A. They can always move back if they are able to ram some stadium deal through.

Ponzi: Right now, I don't see how the Chargers could return to San Diego. They did too good a job deliberately alienating the citizenry. Best, Don Bauder

Maryanne Beckham: Yes, it is amusing watching career politicians squirm and try to wiggle out of lies. Best, Don Bauder

Melvin Clay: If the stadium is torn down -- a possibility -- its odor won't improve. Best, Don Bauder

There's no good reason to tear it down. The location is great for swap meets ,public events , concerts etc. I'll be traveling 500 miles in February with about four tons of car parts to sell at the Big 3 auto swap meet there. It's the largest auto swap meet in the West

CaptainObvious: I don't know that rock concerts and swap meets will support the Q, but some honest homework should be done on the topic. Best, Don Bauder

It probably won't turn a profit, but using public property for public benefit is why it was built

CaptainObvious: Except that it was built greatly to accommodate the Chargers. Best, Don Bauder

The Q costs taxpayers over 10 million dollars a year in operation and maintenance costs. That doesn't cover the cost on the bonds used to pay for the expansion in 1997. Those are two reason right there.

JustWonderiing; One reason the Q costs the city so much each year is that the Chargers are actually PAID to use the stadium. Best, Don Bauder

Like Ponzi, I don't think this is the end of it. As I posted earlier, this may just be brinksmanship, where Deano hopes that Ronnie, Kev-boy and the rest of the local pols who want to have everything both ways will coalesce into a bloc that will cave in. There's still a possibility of that happening. And then they'll keep the door open to returning if they can get that stadium somehow--as long as it isn't at the expense of the Spanos gang. So, while they may play elsewhere this year, we haven't heard the end of it. It may be a saga that will never end, at least in the lifetimes of anyone over the age of ten or twenty.

I'm noting that the resistance to taxpayer subsidized stadia for the NFL is mostly (3 out of 4 metro areas listed above by Don) in California. Could that be because the state is now struggling to stretch its tax money, and all its cities are in the same predicament? Are the voters and politicians finally awake to the fact that a dollar spent to subsidize a ball club (owned by a billionaire) is a dollar that isn't available to repair a pothole, fix a leaky water main or sewer line, buy a book for a library, put a cop on a beat, or staff a fire station. Those are real dollars folks, not some ink marks on a ledger. They come out of the pockets of taxpayers, and need to be spent very efficiently. Sadly, in some places like the city of San Diego, they are not spent in a non-wasteful way.

Does this mean that Nick Can-of-peas will retire from the U-T? What will he do if there is no local NFL team to fawn over?

With the Chargers in LA he can become the newest sports stringer for the Times. They're both owned by TRONC.

JustWondering: Yes, Canepa could become a columnist for both the LA Times and the U-T. I doubt it. Los Angelenos don't like the maudlin approach. Best, Don Bauder

California has long been anti stadium subsidies for millionaire and billionaire sports owners....The 49ers were rejected at the ballot box close to a dozen times for tax payer subsidized sports stadiums. They finally moved to Santa Clara and used a largely privately financed deal for their new stadium. The Rams and Raiders left LA for 20+ years because taxpayers refused to subsidize their sports stadiums. Maybe, you should revise your comments to say San Diegans finally wised up to the scam of subsidizing the ownership of sports teams... California's economy has been booming the last 3-4 years with State budget surpluses. Californians are just too smart to fall for the billionaire pro sports owner corporate welfare stadium shakedown...San Diegans fell for it a few times with the Padres and Chargers..San Diegans are finally waking up and voting with their wallets...

SportsFan0000: I don't think the 49ers were voted down a dozen times. Five is more like it. The Giants also got voted down several times. The Rams left because they couldn't get a stadium gift, while St. Louis gave them access to a stadium almost for free.

I certainly hope San Diegans are waking up, as L.A. and San Francisco have already done. Best, Don Bauder

Already the 49'ers and the City of Santa Clara are suing each other. If the NFL can't impoverish a municipality with a stadium, the NFL will drain and distract them with litigation.

Ponzi: There are severe problems with that stadium named after jeans (Levi's). First, the parking is terrible. Second, it is unbearably hot in day games in the early part of the season. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: I have heard of that suit but not boned up on it, so I really can't discuss it. Best, Don Bauder

"California's economy has been booming the last 3-4 years with State budget surpluses."

SportsFan0000 what have you been smoking? Surpluses? Are you really believing that crap that Jerry been selling? It's completely phony accounting. It should be illegal and it is immoral. Don't fall for it.

JustWondering; Misleading accounting may be illegal, but it is common in both the public and private sectors. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: Yes, the resistance to subsidizing teams is coming almost entirely from California. It's partly because of the cities being in tough financial shape, but it is also because of enlightenment. Best, Don Bauder

I disagree with Ponzi and Visduh.

This IS over. For the San Diego Chargers at least. I think it was over for Spanos a long time ago.

We'll see the subsidy issue start up again when we start trying to lure another NFL / NBA / NHL / MLS team. SD politicians have already started that.

Yes, the commentators on radio had scarcely gotten their breaths when they were talking about a replacement team. Do they ever quit? Ans: No, not as long as there are "fortspans" who live and die by their favorite teams. But pro football has peaked, and will just go downhill from here. The issue of injuries, especially those to the brain, won't go away, and as more of the public learns about the havoc, that public will gradually and inexorably turn away from pro football. In fact, it is already happening.

It's possible that the Spanos family could take a real bath on this one. They have to pay 550M relocation fee to the NFL + moving expenses + rebranding expenses. Then they will initially have a small fan base (unless the team is championship caliber).

So if the NFL declines substantially they might not ever recover that initial investment.

ImJustABill: We don't know what kind of deal the Chargers are getting from Kroenke. But we have a good idea it is not a great one, because the Chargers didn't snap it up a year ago. This is Kroenke's project. He and Spanos do not get along. Spanos is a midget compared to Kroenke in savvy and wealth. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: I agree that pro football has probably peaked--at a very high peak. I think it will come off that peak slowly, though. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: If the Chargers flop in L.A. -- and that is possible -- they may try to come back to San Diego. Then the wheel will start grinding again. Best, Don Bauder

Yes - that is possible. People in SD hate the Chargers now but if they come back in 5 years they will be loved again.

ImJustABill: I think this is over -- for at least awhile. I think the Chargers will move to L.A. If they flop there -- which is quite possible -- they will try to reestablish roots in San Diego. Hopefully, local leadership will tell the Chargers that they should try another location -- like Hades, for example. Best, Don Bauder

From "The Guardian" Newpaper of the United Kingdom

"San Diego refused to be bullied by the NFL and billionaire owners" https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jan/12/san-diego-chargers-los-angeles-move-nfl-owners

SportsFan0000: That is an excellent column and I suggest people read it. Best, Don Bauder

I don't know if the NFL will ever bring back black-outs, but I am kind of glad I can watch whatever NFL games I want now, regardless of what they decide, just because I live near a team's stadium. That was all I was looking at when I voted on the downtown stadium, was if we pay for this thing, is there anything, other than the NFL's whim, that guarantees that will we still be able to watch the games. Also think lack of parking was a non-starter for most people. Personally I think they should have brought in parking barges for the games...now THAT would have been cool. Will miss having an NFL team here, but have a feeling that will change at some point.

Dugese: Blackouts were stupid. People knew that owners were making unconscionable amounts of money, yet insisted on squeezing people even more.

As to whether you will miss the NFL: Los Angeles went more than 20 years without the NFL and got along fine. Best, Don Bauder

Bauder, you write that the local and national media are fawning over Spanos and blaming San Diego. Um, no. Not even close. The U-T's been ripping them a new one -- see their editorial, and a couple of Acee pieces -- and even KUSI's been pretty rough on the Chargers tonight during the special. Rightfully so, and it kind of makes me proud, but still -- the coverage has not been remotely like you describe. It's almost like you didn't even look...

Had you bothered to cite an example when casting an aspersion, you might have done better. But, alas, you didn't cite an example. Not a one. So basically you made a BS statement. You're just like Spanos.

And don't get me started on your comment about "lynched Filner..." The man was a sexual predator, Donald Trump with better politics. Even Filner admitted it. Don't you have a faked moon landing or autism-by-vaccine "story" to write? Has InfoWars responded to your resume?

Aren't you "local media"? Oh wait...

In general I think Don has done a great job reporting on San Diego issues and the Chargers stadium issues.

However certainly you are correct that the local media has been very tough on Spanos (deservedly so)

I listen to AM 1360 a fair amount. Hosts on sports radio station 1360 AM have all been ripping Spanos and Goodell. Frankly, they have not been ripping local politicians.

I think the perception of the local sports radio hosts is that while they supported the city politicians doing whatever it took to keep the Chargers they could understand and respect that the city and county was willing to work with the Chargers and give them a lot of money to stay in San Diego. While they all strongly supported measure C, Most of the hosts blame measure C's failure on Spanos and the Chargers not the politicians.

Sorry my last paragraph didn't make much sense.

What I basically meant is that local sports talk show hosts supported measure C but my impression is that most of them can understand why people voted against it and that all of them blame Spanos more than local politicians for the Chargers leaving.

ImJustABill: Did they blame Spanos before his departure announcement? If so, hats off to them. But if they favored Measure C, they did not understand that convention planners do NOT pick a center 5 or 6 blocks away as an extension of a convention in the main center. That convadium could only have been used for completely separate conventions…small ones. Throughout the controversy, it was represented as an annex or extension of the current center. That was misleading if not fraudulent. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: If the local radio jocks favored Measure C, they did not understand the convention center business and the pro football racket. Best, Don Bauder

Petezanko: Gee, I have missed you. Yes, the UT ripped the Chargers -- AFTER they announced they were leaving. Up to that point, the coverage was clearly slanted in favor of the team staying. Canepa all but licked the team's boots, and blamed the city and its taxpayers and politicians, not the Chargers, for the possible departure. Acee's coverage was less unenlightened, but still slanted. McSwain's coverage was good.

I saw no understanding of NFL economics -- no realization that the whole ploy was a scam, an attempted shakedown. And no realization that the NFL itself comes close to being a criminal enterprise -- not surprisingly, because from its beginning in 1920, gangsters and big gamblers have been the team owners. Best, Don Bauder

Spanos was a big fish in a small pond. Now he is going to be a tenant in a new stadium subject to the whims of the owner (LA Rams). LA will now have two loser teams. Good by Dean and good riddance. Maybe Spanos will rename the San Diego Chargers to the Los Angeles disChargers. I hope the Charger fans will not support them.

AlexClarke: There is another warning signal. The Chargers' two star players -- the quarterback and tight end, whose names escape me -- are both in their mid-30s. Those are big shoes that will have to be filled. Best, Don Bauder

How much taxpayer money that could have gone to proper maintenance of streets and other infrastructure was spent down the drain by local politicians, who now want taxpayers to support yet another bond issue to compensate for their irresponsible waste of money and other resources?

Approval of a bond issue for infrastructure improvements is another sucker ploy. Cynically (is there any other kind?) politicians will be able to let contract plums as bribes for support for things like campaigns for governors.

Baby president, baby governor, baby mayor--what's next?

Flapper: Passing bribes through contract awards is old but still effective. Best, Don Bauder

See another Great Column covering these issues:

"Chargers' greed-driven L.A. move puzzling given several reasonable options to stay Despite reasonable options, yet another pro sports franchise moved due to greed". http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/chargers-greed-driven-l-a-move-puzzling-given-several-reasonable-options-to-stay/

"It's not that his hands were tied. It's that Dean Spanos is either one of the most clueless owners in sports history, or one of the greediest, laziest, and most stubborn owners in sports history. Which is saying a hell of a lot".

Flapper: I think you are right. Best, Don Bauder

I'd have to agree - it's all of the above

clueless - completely misjudged public reaction and other NFL owners' reactions on multiple occasions

greediest - was not willing to "settle" for a 375M taxpayer gift to stay in Mission Valley and was not willing to sell shares in the team to investors in return for stadium funding

laziest - never went out to address public or media or rarely even politicians

stubborn - insisted on wanting a "Jerry World" level palace in downtown SD instead of Mission Valley

ImJustABill: Part of Fabiani's fat salary was to go toward educating Dean Spanos in such matters. Fabiani flunked again. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: Wonderfully descriptive. There was a columnist at the LA Times, now gone, who used to call the Spanos family "the goofs." Also wonderfully descriptive. Best, Don Bauder

LO$ER LEAVES SD ......................................... Says it all for me!

Founder: Pithy, that. Best, Don Bauder

Spectator sports are tolerated (and encouraged) at the national level for two reasons:

1- They inspire loyalty.

2- They distract the public.

1- All the flag/logo waving, rabid team loyalty, hate for the opposition and emotional turmoil are models for patriotic citizenship. Government needs us to feel this way so that we can send our patriotic children to fight wars to support our corporate profits around the world. Similarly, government encourages scouting, the Pledge of Allegiance, and other activities that promote loyalty and respect for uniforms and uniformity. The loyalty concept is extended to the sport fan's city, state and country; but also beyond that to products (shoes, soft drinks, chewing tobacco...) used by teams and star performers. It's a gravy train for corporations and government.

2- People who come to work in the morning eager to discuss 'the big game' are less aware of their small paycheck, their poor working conditions, or anything political that doesn't involve sports. Corporations love these distracted employees who never find the time to complain. Politicians love them because they don't pay attention to what politics is doing to them and they vote guided by the advertising they see. Television and other mindless entertainments serve the same purpose but with less lingering emotion than sports.

the more recent ( historically ) opiate of the masses passing religion in popularity ?

MURPHYJUNK: You have proposed a most interesting research project. How many Americans go to church on Sunday morning and to pro football games in the afternoon? Or watch pro football games in the afternoon on TV? Best, Don Bauder

swell: That is a most perceptive analysis. Best, Don Bauder


You may hate football or even sports in general and that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion.

But other people DO like football and sports. Maybe you're right that we're all being somehow brainwashed. Maybe anyone who thinks differently from you has been unwittingly manipulated by some vast conspriracy.

Or maybe you should respect other people's wants and desires and tastes even if they're different from yours.

ImJustABill: One can enjoy football and other sports but strongly disapprove of taxpayer financing of billionaires' stadiums. Best, Don Bauder

Yes - I think that is how you and I feel.

Swell comment! Insightful.

Spectator sports ruined Rome.

shirleyberan: Well said and well thought out. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Yes, I did a Reader column on that a couple of years ago. The Romans herded into the Coliseum to watch gladiators slay animals, animals slay gladiators, gladiators slay gladiators. This provided great psychological comfort to the Romans, just as going to boxing matches, football games, and the Indianapolis 500 provides comfort to Americans. Best, Don Bauder

I heard on 1360 AM that the NFL has subtracted the 11M spent promoting measure C from the 550M relocation fee the Chargers owe to the NFL.

ImJustABill: I have not heard that, but it doesn't surprise me. Did the league also subtract the money Kroenke spent to fight Missouri from his relocation fee? Best, Don Bauder

Melvin Clay: That headline suggested I was weeping along with the Chargers fans. I am glad you read further to find that is hardly true. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Graham (not Melvin Clay), The headline was misleading, but the guy who writes my heads does a terrific job. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: Possibly, except if that was the strategy, it backfired. Attendance for example, was very bad this year and would have been a total disaster had fans from other cities not shown up in droves. Best, Don Bauder

but how many fans bought tickets that were being strung along ?

MURPHUJUNK: Tickets that were being strung along? I don't get it. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: Using the TOT is not a bad idea for good projects. There are two, in particular: 1. Infrastructure; 2. Shelters and food for the homeless. Best, Don Bauder

It appears that the Chargers decision to leave San Diego and go to LA was a complete "set up" all along.
) The NFL was lying when they said they wanted the Chargers to stay in San Diego.
2) If the NFL really wanted the Chargers to stay in San Diego, then the NFL would have coughed up much more money and financing to make it happen.
3)Dean Spanos and the Chargers may have been intentionally sabotaging any deal to stay in San Diego OR they are just the most incompetent owners in professional sports (see earlier comments above)........................................................................................................ 4) The Mayor and the "heavy hitters" in the SD Region could have "stepped up" and opened their own wallets to make deals to help the Chargers stay including naming rights, corporate sponsorship without involving major new taxpayer outlays etc.. 5)The NFL gave the Chargers a very short extension (10 days or 2 weeks?!) to make their decision on the option to move to LA. 6) The Mayor and City/County may have expected that the Chargers would get another year extension, provided for under the earlier NFL agreement, to further negotiate for the Chargers to stay in San Diego.
7) The Raiders looming decision (LA or Las Vegas) may have forced the Chargers hand since the Chargers did not want 2 NFL teams in LA in addition to the Chargers in SD.. 8) If the Chargers extended negotiations indefinitely in SD, then the NFL could have given the Raiders the green light to move to Inglewood/LA in 2017-2018. 9) The Mayor and City/County miscalculated, again, regarding their ability to get a further extension for negotiating from the NFL and Chargers. 10) The Chargers, Dean Spanos, Fabiani and the City/County acted more like the "Keystone Cops" During this entire negotiating process over the last 15 years Rather than "Serious Players" intent on getting a business deal done...

Here's what I think regarding your points 1) True - unless the NFL leadership was really really really stupid and actually believed Spanos when he said he tried hard to stay in SD.

2) Definitely true

3) True - I'm leaning towards incompetence.

4) Maybe. Perhaps if Falconer had bypassed an election and did some sneaky tricks he could have come up with enough public money for the Chargers to stay. To his credit, he insisted on an election for a major outlay of public money.

5, 6) Yes - if the NFL was really interested in keeping the Chargers in SD they would have given them more time. The Raiders seemed more interested in LV than LA.

7) Maybe - depends if the Chargers believe their own BS about how they have a lot of fans in OC and LA. Personally I don't think the LA market affects the SD market much.

8) Yes

9, 10) I don't think the Mayor, city council, and county supervisors should have been INTENT on getting a business deal done. They should have - and were - willing to put a limit on what they were willing to offer. 2 years ago they offered 350M in public money towards a stadium in Mission Valley. If Spanos was at all serious about wanting to stay in SD he would have negotiated from there and put something on the ballot that the mayor and city council agreed with. But Spanos wanted 1.15B towards a downtown stadium.

ImJustABill: Yes. The city foolishly offered Spanos the moon. The Spanos family would have none of it. Dean Spanos has been dishonest every step of the way for more than 20 years. Best, Don Bauder

You and I don't agree with the city's position but it was probably aligned fairly closely with what the average San Diegan wanted. Not completely foolish.

Spanos has clearly been dishonest but also grossly incompetent for a long time.

John Moores was dishonest but was frankly pretty shrewd at it.

ImJustABill: Moores and Lucchino were pretty slick. Spanos and Fabiani? Ugh. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: The Chargers began working on going to L.A.in 1995. The contract with the city then gave the team the right to look for a new location every few years. Bruce Henderson correctly called it a team shopping clause -- a road out of town to Los Angeles. Then-Mayor Susan Golding shrieked that it was no such thing. Henderson was right.

When Fabiani was hired in 2001 or 2002, he said publicly the team would try to get a stadium in San Diego or possibly L.A. The Spanos family had their eyes on L.A. for more than 20 years. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks for the update Don...Yes I am aware that the Chargers and City/County have been stumbling and bumbling through Chargers Stadium issues for decades. They missed major opportunities when they had a playoffs caliber team and when the Petco Park Deal was being negotiated. Some Cities have built "Side by Side" Sports Stadiums downtown like Cincy, Detroit and others. When the 400M Petco Deal was on the table, Chargers deal would have only cost 400M + 400M for Petco =900M for both baseball and football stadiums at that time... If the City/County had decent negotiators, then that deal could have been put together for "dual sports stadiums" at that time and without taxpayer subsides. If you add in the NFL kick in of 300-350M plus Spanos contributing 100M+ then you have their deal for 400M with zero taxpayer funds. Ditto with Petco..San Diego City and County have just had incompetent negotiators and/or "insiders" who conveniently took jobs with the opposing sides after the deals went down (McGrory and others to Moores development) and Golding and others to Qualcomm..

SportsFan0000:The Cinncinnati deal was perhaps the biggest scam professional teams have pulled off. Hamilton County got the shaft. San Diego never would have wangled football or baseball deals without bushels of taxpayer money. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: The Chargers had their eyes on L.A. beginning in 1995. The team shopping clause was written into the contract with the city. The team publicly stated it wanted a San Diego stadium and if it couldn't get one, it would work on L.A.

The Chargers always preferred L.A. San Diego doesn't have the population, the wealth, the household income, the large number of companies to use the luxury boxes, enough disposable income to be able to sell personal seat licenses, etc. Best, Don Bauder

Spanos said he and his wife, and is sons, will be moving to L.A. I wonder if Dean is going to sell his stake in Donovan's?

Spanos sells steaks to Donovans?

(Sorry, bad play on the homophone)

ImJustABill: Why would he? Absentee ownership is common in the restaurant business.Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Spanos has also had a home in Vegas. There is no reason to sell it just because the Raiders are likely to move there.

Steak, stake. You are forgiven. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: Don't slam the door on the way out. Best, Don Bauder

There is an interesting and informative column by Jim Steeg, former Charger COO and NLF VP in the Sunday, Jan 15, 2017. pg. A20 edition of the U-T.

Jim, an extremely creative gentleman and showman should be credited with making the Super Bowl what it is today. Not just a Championship game, but a true cultural spectacle. I had the pleasure of working with him on two of the three Superbowls staged in San Diego.

Jim, a Charger insider, gives us a glimpse into the inner working of the Spanos dynasty, as well as the shortcomings of our hapless elected leaders. However, in the no holds barred rundown, the title of the piece tells most of the story: "Spanos Family Blew It by Alienating So Many..." It is worth a read.

The link below is an archive of the story: http://sandiegouniontribune.ca.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=2719990c7

JustWondering: If Steeg was really a Chargers insider, he would have known very well that the Chargers had been aiming at L.A. for years. Best, Don Bauder

Yes, that's true. In the column Steeg wrote, "As my wife opined in the Union-Tribune in the summer of 2014, the Spanos family wanted Los Angeles and that was their total focus. This proved to be true."

Spanos, through his mouthpiece, Fabiani, obfuscated the truth for years. And now he even gets the other owners to subsidize his malfeasance. If they're waiving some of the relocation fees for his phony ballot measure maybe the owners aren't as smart as they think they are.

JustWondering: That essay by Steeg's wife was right on the money. The Chargers always preferred L.A., but San Diego was in second place if L.A.was not available. Best, Don Bauder

The same page as the Steeg article referenced by JustWondering also has a great piece by Mike Aguirre advocating that the city sue the NFL for antitrust violations.


ImJustABill: Yes, it is an interesting piece, but Mike knows full well that lawsuits are very expensive, and San Diego has huge infrastructure and pension deficits. Best, Don Bauder

Obviously to make social / legal change some time and money and effort needs to be spent.

To be answer I find your answer rather shocking. I'm surprised you would suggest that it's not worth the bother and expense to try to change laws and legal precedents to stop the continued extortion of taxpayers. Do you care about the issue of public welfare for billionaires or not?

ImJustABill: I think I have written more columns and blog items denouncing welfare for sports billionaires than just about anybody, since I have been writing them since the mid-1990s. I would like to see somebody take on professional sports leagues in court. But San Diego has too many other things such as infrastructure and pensions to worry about. Best, Don Bauder

Yes, you have done more than almost anyone to advocate for fairness and to prevent the unjustified forced distribution of wealth to sports team owners.

It just seems to me the antitrust exemption is the lynchpin to the whole thing. And if Mike Aguirre thinks it's a case worth fighting I would tend to agree with Mike.

Sorry if I was a bit hard on you. You have been the best reporter in the nation on this issue - bar none.

ImJustABill: I talked to Mike before his piece was printed in the U-T. He said the only person who could file that suit would be the mayor. Best, Don Bauder

LOL! Our Mayor? Mr. Milktoast, sue the NFL and Spanos. Sorry, I'm laughing so hard. Take a side on an important issue? Yeah, right. Faulconer never seen a side he couldn't like in any argument.

Shimizu Randall: Kroenke is taking on risk, too. Football may have peaked. And who wants to live in a condo or apartment right next to LAX? Best, Don Bauder

Great Read Story by Jim Rome: Spanos miscalculated, again...LA does not want the Chargers....http://jimrome.com/2017/01/13/own-it-dean/

SportsFan0000: Yes, good column by Rome. Most columns I have seen state that the Chargers are not wanted in L.A. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Two responses: 1. What does "rack him" mean? Stretching him out on a rack and turning the crank, as was common several hundred years ago? 2. Rack whom? Best, Don Bauder

It's Jim Rome's slang for "That was really well stated". For some reason - I can't remember all the history - Jim Rome would say "RACK HIM" after a good phone call, then at the end of the show they took the best of the "RACK'd" calls and replay that as the "huge call of the day". I'm saying Jim Rome's piece was really well stated.

It's a cue to the technical director queue up the recorded call for replay. Rack'em, typically applies to so called instant replay in the days of video tape. Where tape was rewound or re-racked for replay. In today's all digital environment the term is obsolete but still used in this example.

Thanks JW - I've heard JR use the term many times but I never knew the origin.

ImJustABill: Maybe he was referring to racking pool balls. Best, Don Bauder

Quoting JR "What the hell did you expect, Dean? That people in San Diego would understand you stabbing them in the heart? And that the folks in L.A, would be happy to see you? Well, they’re not, and the folks in San Diego will never forgive nor forget what you’re doing to them. So stop crying about much this hurts. It’s just going to make the people there hate you even more. No thousandaire has any sympathy for a billionaire."

"In reality, this is going exactly how you’d expect. Exactly how Spanos should have expected it to go. Horribly. How could it go any other way? No one wants this! No one. Starting with the City of Los Angeles. No one here wants the Chargers. No one here asked for it. And no one here needs it. And the next Charger fan I see here will be the first."

"L.A. doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A.. The Rams don’t want the Chargers in L.A. the NFL doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A. and the Chargers really don’t want the Chargers here in L.A. but to quote Rex Ryan… here we are! Here we bleeping are. Even no one, anywhere, wants this, other than Dean Spanos."

SportsFan0000: This is sounding more and more like World War I. The countries involved in that war never did figure out what they were fighting about. Best, Don Bauder

FJL: I am not so sure the Chargers could have built a stadium with private money.San Diego is not a strong football market.Yes, it is the 17th largest U.S. market, but is only the 28th largest media market. Income and wealth are not impressive. There are few corporations that would use the luxury boxes. Personal seat licenses are out of the question.

There are too many other things to do in San Diego-- golf, beaches, hiking, etc. Why pay a fortune to go to a football game on a beautiful day when there are so many things you can do for free or for little money? Best, Don Bauder

What number(s) do you think are wrong in the CBS article?

ImJustABill: Not "wrong" but doubtful: somebody buying one-third of the team. That person would have a lot of money in a team managed by a family of incompetents, and couldn't do anything in the decision-making. Best, Don Bauder

Don, in my opinion, It is a complete fallacy that the Chargers could not privately finance their own new stadium in San Diego with NFL help. Joe Robbie built his own football stadium in Miami a few decades ago all with his own cash and credit. Robbie hocked himself up to his eyeballs to get the deal done. It turned out to be extremely lucrative for Robbie. With the advent of major "corporate welfare" in sports stadium financing schemes, perhaps the NFL puts serious pressure on teams not to finance their own stadiums?! It is my hunch and I would not be at all surprised if proven to be true....

I suspect some of the NFL's rules regarding financing and ownership are in part intended to make teams seek corporate welfare - specifically for cases in which owners are asset rich and cash poor - well, relatively cash poor anyway - not able to easily come up with ~ 500M.

It certainly seems to me like it should be trivial for a profitable business with a market value of ~ 2B and a very stable, predictable revenue stream to get a few hundred million for capital improvements. One could certainly look at the asset / debt sheets of many companies and see much more leveraged positions than what it would have taken for the Chargers to pony up money for their own stadium.

I've heard somewhere there are rules against an owner using the team as collateral in any financing. I think the NFL wants to avoid situations like MLB had with the Dodgers, in which an owner siphons off the assets of the team and then declares bankruptcy. But I'm sure the NFL also likes to push the owners to push taxpayers for more money.

ImJustABill: If the NFL discourages or bans an owner from using a team as collateral, the reason would more likely be that the league wants governments to chip in on a stadium. The NFL believes stadiums should be built with OPM -- Other People's Money. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: I don't think there is any doubt about it: the NFL pressures owners to build their stadiums with taxpayer money. Financing a stadium with the owner's money (or access to credit) would set a bad example, these nabobs believe. Best, Don Bauder

San Diego Movers Organize a Boycott/Are Refusing to Move Chargers to LA. The Boycott has spread to LA Movers.. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports/San-Diego-Companies-Refuse-to-Move-Chargers-to-LA-410785025.html

I think Spanos is grossly underestimating the overall support in the LA market and how difficult it will be to build a fan base in LA.

I think I've even underestimated it. I thought that Angelinos would be apathetic towards the Chargers but from everything I'm reading it's much worse than that - Angelinos actually seem to hate the Chargers after what Spanos has done to SD. The Chargers logo was booed at a recent Lakers/Clippers game.

It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think there will be more than 10,000 Chargers fans at ANY game in LA for at least the next few years. Maybe the next 10 years unless the team improves a lot. And for that to happen I think they have to get lucky in the draft and get a great successor to Rivers within a few years.

ImJustABill:What if ticket prices were slashed? Best, Don Bauder

I they'll sell tickets if the price drops enough - just not to Charger fans. I think the recent Steeler and Raider games in San Diego (in which Charger fans were clearly outnumbered) will be the norm for EVERY game in LA.

ImJustABill: I think that's quite possible. I think a lot of San Diegans would get a kick out of that. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: That's the kind of boycott that falls apart when one company gets hungry. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: Pro sports ARE entertainment. Best, Don Bauder

Allen Kent: I hope you have not just discovered that pro sports are all -- repeat, ALL -- about money. Best, Don Bauder

San Diego Fans Crash Dean Spanos's INTRO PRESS CONFERENCE IN LA. shouting expletives, flipping him the "double bird" etc....


I wonder how far in advance of the move announcement the shirts and banners for this "rally" were printed up.

Murphyjunk: How much time and money did the Chargers spend getting people to go to the rally? Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: I would like to have been there. Best, Don Bauder

Same old Deano..Very cheap! Couldn't even pay enough attendees to attend his own BS PR Rally lol! I see many, many empty seats....Don...You didn't get an invite from your old pal Deano?!
Did Deano take you off his Christmas Card list or something?! LOL!!!

If that Chargers Rally is any indication of future attendance at Chargers games in that small soccer stadium in LA, then Deano, the Chargers and the NFL are in big, big trouble...

Me too!
More fun than the Barnum and Bailey Ringling Bros Circus...that also closed down for lack of interest....Will the NFL tolerate the Chargers drawing 15k-20k fans in LA and the embarrassment of a mostly empty soccer stadium watching NFL games in LA!?

maybe spanos can hire the retired elephants for his circus

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