In November, San Diego residents voted against ballot Measure C, which would have provided the San Diego Chargers with $1.15 billion in taxpayer money for the purpose of building a new football stadium. It was the voters’ way of telling Chargers owner Dean Spanos to stop asking for handouts and to finally fuck off to Los Angeles or wherever. Now, a group of local city council members who opposed Measure C are rubbing Spanos’s nose in it.
Yesterday, four city council members sent a letter to Spanos and the NFL, in which they offered a last-ditch “solution” that would keep the Chargers in San Diego. Their plan is to have the Chargers and the NFL foot the bill for building and maintaining a new stadium, but to also cut the team a sweet, once-in-a-lifetime deal on the stadium lease:
The current site is equivalent to over 60 downtown blocks that can be transformed from an empty parking lot to a state-of-the-art, one of a kind NFL experience. The development of the current site with a $1 per year 99-year lease would be a good starting point for a discussion.
This is what one might call spiking the football. Offering a team a $1 lease may look like the council bending over backwards to meet Spanos’s requirement for free money, but such an offer is essentially valueless. In most circumstances, the amount of money a team pays the city on its lease is dwarfed by the public funds it receives to build and operate the stadium. In some cases, the lease agreement even leads to the team actually taking money from the city. Oh, look over here, it’s a 2015 San Diego Tribune story detailing how a series rent credits resulted in the Chargers coming out of their lease agreement with San Diego up $3.2 million in the ledger.
All these council members are offering Spanos is a chance to look bad in public. How could Chargers fans still possibly support a guy who is going to turn down a free lease? It’s a great political maneuver, and it reportedly has Spanos furious. From Pro Football Talk:
That conduct has been viewed by owner Dean Spanos as an effort to embarrass him and his family and to deflect blame for a relocation from the politicians via a last-minute proposal that will never survive scrutiny.
“If the goal was to infuriate the single remaining decision-maker in this process, mission accomplished,” the source said.
Good! I hope Spanos is embarrassed and is run out on a rail by Chargers fans who see a guy turning down a sweetheart deal so he can flee to Los Angeles. I hope this leech is embarrassed every single day of his life.