Dean Spanos “infuriated” by $1 annual rent proposal

Getty Images

The last-ditch effort to get the Chargers to stay in San Diego is too little, too late, and ultimately too infuriating.

That’s the word that a source with knowledge of the situation applied when characterizing the idea of a 99-year lease at $1 annual rent floated by a group of San Diego council members.

Per the source, the idea has been cobbled together by two politicians who opposed the stadium measure that failed miserably at the ballot box, Scott Sherman and Chris Cate. They didn’t present the idea to the Chargers; the team learned about it through the media.

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.

The low rent makes for a good headline, but the Chargers would be required to operate and maintain the stadium. Operation costs currently are roughly $15 million per year. There’s also $100 million in deferred maintenance projects.

While the team would also control the remainder of the stadium site, the Chargers would have to secure development rights. It’s expected that local opposition to commercial use of the property would be intense, and that the process would be time-consuming.

Most importantly, it’s likely that the project would require a public vote. Given the manner in which the last public vote failed, it would be another uphill climb.

While that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep the team in town, a different proposal will be required, quickly. By all appearances, this one has only made things worse.

108 responses to “Dean Spanos “infuriated” by $1 annual rent proposal


  2. Just start winning some freakin games and the wonderful people of San Diego will pay whatever it takes to keep the Chargers where they belong.

    ~signed a 30+ year Chargers fan.

  3. Teams make enough money to provide their own stadium upkeep.

    One day maybe the NFL will stop misusing tax payer dollars to line the pockets of the filthy rich.

  4. The reason that the PROP C stadium vote lost was not because San Diegans are not Chargers fans. (We are.) But, it was rather a referendum on Dean Spanos’ lack of commitment to produce a quality team. He would rather be mediocre because its easier, and to also rape Chargers ticket holders for $150 cheap seats, $20 parking and $10 beers.
    Hey, if you’re mediocre you dont have to have a high bar to perform to.

    Good riddance, Dean!

  5. Spanos said over and over again for years any ballot measure that required 2/3 vote was a non starter and destined for failure. So what does he do? He insults San Diego for a good year, doesn’t work with the Mayor or Council and brings a ballot measure that requires 2/3 vote. And this is good faith? The NFL should force the sale of this franchise. They’re going to trust this man in Los Angeles? If he has polling numbers suggesting his Chargers will be well received here, it must of been taken at Fantasy Land.

    Congratulations NFL. You’ve lost a strong NFL market in San Diego and created what will be surely a complete disaster in Los Angeles with two owners who are unlikable at every level and have historically ran loser franchises.

    The ratings decline has just begun the way this business treats it’s fans. Get lost Spanos. Later days. LA is going to loathe you with Donald Sterling type passion.

  6. >the Chargers would be required to operate and maintain the stadium

    Yeah? And why shouldn’t they??

    I can only hope the days of taxpayers subsidizing private sports enterprises to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars is coming to and end.

  7. Jacksonville may play bad football, but the owner spends team $ plus has invested millions personally into the facilities. No whining! Stay classy, San Diego.

  8. I’d like to open a manufacturing plant in some of these cities.. surely they will pay for the plant and all I have to do is show up and hire some employees right? and I get to keep all the profits?

  9. God forbid the Chargers have to pay to upkeep their own stadium. Yet hes gonna help pay to upkeep another mans stadium. The whole L.A situation will be a money pit for both Kroenke and Spanos.

  10. $115 million seems like a lot, but how much was the NFL willing to pitch in to keep the Chargers in San Diego?

    I thought the NFL was offering the Raiders and Chargers around $300 mil? or was it $500?

    Either way, that would be a team friendly option while working on a new stadium deal. But if there was to be another significant battle to face to get a new stadium with this deal in place, it becomes harder to accept.

  11. I just don’t envision them making it in LA, or really anywhere, until they can generate some excitement (wins/playoffs). But even then LA doesn’t really make sense to me. Maybe San Antone.

  12. Hand-me-down business owners fail at a 95% failure rate. Dean is living up to that stat. If Dean knew how to earn the money to buy a team, he would know how to earn the money from a business such as a stadium.

  13. Cry me a river already Dean. Move and don’t let the door hit you on the way out of town! As a voter, I am so happy your corporate welfare failed at the ballot. Remember the kind of year the Padres had when the Petco park iniative was up for vote? They made it to the world series. Hint hint, the world loves a winner, and guess what, this team aint that.
    Need a deal on moving boxes?

  14. I know I speak for all of PFT readers when I say how badly we feel for the Spanos family and how they are being taken advantage of by San Diego. What a crime.

  15. LOL! As if anyone could “embarrass” a billionaire who made most of his money out of the fanbase, the town and it’s taxpayers that he then tried to hold all hostage by threatening he could bleed even more money out of another market if they didn’t keep bending over and emptying their pockets so that he could keep his family in private jets….

  16. No one in the media or NFL is addressing the real elephant in the room which is the Spanos family is too cash poor to operate a team in today’s NFL. They have always been on the bottom rung of ownership and with the dying days of public money for stadiums they are at the whim of any situation that will allow them to keep the team. They should be forced to sell the team to a real owner that can build their own stadium without cobbling ten different sources of funding, the majority coming from the city. This isn’t 1980, you can’t get by on balancing the yearly team budget from revenue then playing your sundays in a civic stadium. The quality of television and internet coverage means providing a top flight experience at the stadium is paramount. The city of San Diego deserves better, the team itself deserves better.

  17. Why should the Chargers make less money? It isn’t about greed it is about running s succesful business. Hey San Diego doesn’t have to pay Chargers to stay but they should prepare to loose a pretty solid revenue stream.

    However there are very good reasons why cities want attractions which bring in revenue.

  18. With all of the markets available why would you want to move into another owner’s stadium and in a city that has been a division rival in the past? Forget that they had the AFL season ,that bit of history means nothing anymore. If they do move to LA, just leave the history and name in San Diego,take the opportunity to rebrand and start something new.

  19. I do not blame Dean Spanos for being angry. First, a stadium vote gets rejected that visitors and tourists would have funded. Then, an asinine proposal comes about that doesn’t address the need for a new stadium. Spanos should tell San Diego to get lost and just leave. San Diego clearly isn’t an NFL town anymore.

    I am rooting for the Chargers to try STL and San Antonio. They would be the “big fish in the small pond” in those two markets. If he chooses Los Angeles, he should rebrand the team to something the city can identify with.

    San Diego Chargers 1961-2016 RIP

  20. I don’t know, seems like he could take that lease, drop 200 million into the stadium and come out pretty good. Naming rights alone could get that money back. But I have heard he’s not that smart.

  21. He could pay the 15 mil per year operational cost for 20 years plus 110 mil in repairs and still have a lot of money left over from the 500 mil relocation fee he has to pay the NFL if he moves. In addition the operational costs and repair costs would all be tax deductible.

  22. It still amazes me that the non-profit heavily tax exempted NFL has owners who use public tax dollars to build, and ultimately operate and maintain, stadiums that the NFL and owners use to make ridiculously large profits.

    Dean go suck an egg.

  23. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to eliminate four teams and do a dispersal draft. Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tampa and San Diego. No one would miss them and it would be humane for remaining Browns fans.

  24. All 32 teams made $250 million in television revenues alone this (and every) year…Why do they think the taxpayers should eat the cost of stadium maintenance or any other cost of running a professional football team?????????

  25. Im about to ask chargers fans a question. Its off topic but im curious. Ok someone justvsaid win and the city would help with a stadium. Now then i always hear how good rivers is. Do you guys really think rivers isvthat good? I mean he seems like a really emotional dude with some talent. To me though it also seems he is so emotional and so confident in his talent that he costs the chargersc a helluva lot of games. It seems hes the the ultimate “almost clutch” qb. He is behind and scires a couple of times then in the 4th is driving gets down in the red zonevand oops picked off… over!!!! Just curious what you guys think

  26. What a mess. Why doesn’t he just sell the team. They are not going to get a new stadium and they don’t have the capital to build one. The Chinese are buying Hollywood. Maybe they need to look a little south.

  27. Scott Sherman is an idiot…he has been
    Anti -Chargers for a long time.
    His district is where the stadium is now and he wants it to be a shopping mall and the Chargers gone.

    San Diego Politics are a joke and when the Chargers leave…which they will, everybody will claim they tried
    So tired of this drama and the NFL

    Go Padres !!!

    At least they try

  28. Spanos is hoping to move to LA for a few years while SD get’s buyers remorse, then decide to back up the subsidy truck while building Spanos a shiny new toy on the public’s dime to lure him back.
    Stay strong San Diego, no welfare for billionaires. No one is going to come see the Chargers in LA either and Dean will be stuck paying rent to Kroenke for all those empty seats. He’ll be begging to come back down I-5.

  29. Pay for your own damned stadium, Dean. You lost the PR war, and San Diegoans aren’t stupid or desperate enough to give you any taxpayer (local or visitor) money.

    PS, we here in LA don’t want you either, you greedy SOB.

  30. Spanos is infuriated?

    How about the taxpayers and voters?

    We’re infuriated also – – – by subsidizing billionaires.


  31. Why is Dean worried about being embarrassed? His track record as one of the worst owners in professional sports speaks for itself.

  32. The NFL should pay to keep the team there. They don’t have 1 successful team yet in LA & they want 2? It makes no sense, haven’t we seen this movie before? Also, what could happen… Chargers go to LA, become the fan favorites & the Rams become the Jets, White Sox, Mets, etc. Furthermore, they should help Oakland too. Pay for the stadiums and make the teams re-pay through a percentage at the gate or something. Teams shouldn’t be leaving their well established fan bases like the Chargers and the Raiders. Some cities don’t deserve to keep their teams, but I think these teams should stay.

  33. Dean’s reaction shows what a true “Putz” he really is…SD power base was willing to bend over backwards to make Mission Valley work; yet The Chargers Circus of Fabiani and Maas ignored this option and chose to not work in good faith toward a stadium solution…can the NFL force the Spanos’ to sell the team so San Diego can find an ownership group that appreciates its community?

  34. Cities and their citizens have finally caught on to the scam. Stadium deals going forward are going to be very different from what they’ve been in the past. And at some point the owners are just going to have to suck it up and open their own checkbooks. There are far fewer cities willing to play by the old rules than there are teams. They can’t all move to LA.

  35. While the Chargers are not my team, after nearly a decade of living in San Diego and counting a multitude of Chargers fans among my friends and co-workers, I think I can confidently say that the prevailing attitude of said Chargers fans at this point is “Just leave already!”

  36. As a Broncos fan, it’s almost natural to hate the other AFC West teams when they are in a bad spot. However, I feel sorry for the die hard Chargers fans-the season ticket holders who have gone year after year in the hope it would be the Chargers year, and ultimately where it really matters has never been that year. Paying hard earned dollars for them and families to have the team ripped away from them. Doesn’t feel right.

  37. A billionaire complaining that he doesn’t want to cover the overhead for his business.

    Yet people think that single parents on food stamps are a problem…

  38. If the Chargers do move from San Diego I hope it isn’t to LA. I think San Antonio would be a better play. Plus it would cut into Jerry Jones’ territory. Since Jones championed Kroenke’s plan over Spanos’ I think it would be poetic justice for Spanos to move the team there. The Raiders should have done the same, but Vegas has seemingly given them a good deal. We would love to have an NFL team in St Louis, but Kroenke ensured we will never have an NFL team ever again.

  39. It’s ridiculous how some here think this is Spanos fault. The cost of having an NFL team is high for a city/community. Look at every other NFL team that has built a new stadium. He wants what other owners are getting. San Diego doesn’t deserve an NFL team. The lease proposal is an absolute slap in the face and not an answer.

  40. Who cares? The NFL has reached its apex and the long slow decline has begun. It grows tiring listening to billionaires cry because the public won’t finance their stadiums. BTW… far from a full stadium for the LA Rams last week. Great market.

  41. Hasn’t spent three dollars on that place in 15 years. I went to Seau’s funeral service there, took one look at the scoreboard screen that’s straight out of the 90’s, and told my buddy “they’re moving out of here.”

  42. If the Chargers leave the weather will still be close to perfect and the next town will have to deal with Spanos.

    The Chargers should just change their name to the Changers and move every 20 years. It’s only a 1 letter shift.

  43. What a disaster. He’s infuriated? Come on. He’s smiling. He’s got politicians doing his bidding? Where do I sign up for a $1 a year lease for 99 years? That’s a gift of local funds. They should be arrested.

    There should never be a football stadium in downtown San Diego. That’s a complete waste of space. Where the Q is located is perfect for a football stadium. Frankly I would move them east of El Cajon now.

    The Chargers get 10 days a year at home (maybe 11 or max of 12, if they ever make the playoffs). The San Diego State Aztec’s get 6 to a max of 8, and there are two post season games. So we are talking about 20 to 22 dates a year, packed into a 6 month window. Throw in a couple of high school games, a motorcross, RV sale and a concert or two, maybe we are at 25 dates. With the exception of practices, and a rare meeting or two, this facility is not being used by the public 340 days a year. Spanos has a great deal being the only game in town. He comes to LA and he’s the 7th ugly stepsister. Good luck in Inglewood.

  44. He’s infuriated San Diego wants to GIVE him a stadium for $1 a year? Take all his money, his phone, and dump him off in the wino section of town. Let’s see how infuriated he can get.

  45. Meanwhile, over here in Ohio I wonder how big a threat San Antonio would be to the Cowboys. It is a 6 hour drive from one to the other, or thereabouts. Jerry doesn’t have to worry about that. Geographically, and population-wise, Tex can handle all three. So, SD, jump at a good opportunity, but be sure to get a dome. It is not just warm there at times, it is hot.

  46. enough with this san antonio chargers talk. what a bunch of nonsense.
    dean has a solid deal in LA.
    His next best option would be Vegas, who has already approved a stadium deal (assuming the raiders dont move)
    san antonio is not even on the radar.

  47. Well Dean, if you can’t afford the cost of the stadium or the operating cost, it a tell-tell sign that you can’t afford. If you can’t afford it then move on, or come out with a smaller plan. Maybe like an outdoor bleacher stadium that seats 20k people that you can afford. The government and the people are tired of footing you and your rich homie’s bills.

  48. The previous owner, Gene Klein, sold the Chargers to Spanos on the condition he’d keep the team in San Diego. Way to not be a jerk, Dean! 😛

  49. Teams generate about 150 MILLION annually into the local economy. That’s a lot of lost revenue for the area to lose on a yearly basis. Typical “blue state” mentality….

  50. This isn’t following the popular opinion but everyone is mentioning 200 million in revenue for each NFL team.

    Those are revenues that are used to pay the players, staff, and maintenance. in 2014 the Packers had 190 million in revenue and an actual profit of only 25 million. Some years they probably make more, but they are also perennial contenders.

    It is still a lot of money, but if 15 million is going to stadium upkeep and restorations, that is a big chunk of what they have left.

  51. danm1978 says:
    Dec 14, 2016 2:47 AM
    As a Broncos fan, it’s almost natural to hate the other AFC West teams when they are in a bad spot. However, I feel sorry for the die hard Chargers fans-the season ticket holders who have gone year after year in the hope it would be the Chargers year, and ultimately where it really matters has never been that year. Paying hard earned dollars for them and families to have the team ripped away from them. Doesn’t feel right.


    When the Viking stadium situation was playing out, there were a few cheesy trolls who were rooting for the team to move to LA. Classless & disrespectful to the history of the league. I recognize those were the demented worst of the worst.

    My buddies went to Lambeau for the Jan 3rd game last season & had the best time with a variety of true Packer fans.

    It’s too bad the Chargers have such a strapped owner. When Rivers hangs ’em up, an era where the team is really diseased may occur. Who knows.

  52. No sympathy for Spanos. He’s done a horrible job of running this team, and now he’s “outraged” at a plan that would cost him $250 million over 10 years, which is a far better deal than anyone else will get on a stadium, and far better than he deserves.

  53. This country has far too much tolerance for billionaire jerks. We need to realize how little good these people do for the rest of us, and treat them accordingly.

  54. The “hood” until 2021. Maybe. 2019 start won’t happen with the EPA’s of CA and LA. Dean, get ready for massive cost over-runs you’ll have to “share” with Master Kroenke. Dean..stay where you are and start winning..not whinning.

  55. Spanos pretty much exemplifies what the fans are putting up with in regards to massively inflated tix, using city or taxpayers to fund stadium upgrades, ridiculous out of country games that line their pockets.
    There is no fan base in LA. Enjoy the ride Chargers’ fans…

  56. To those of you that rent…Are you expected to pay for the roof if it leaks? I’m sure that 100% agree the answer is no…the chargers do not own the stadium or the land it sits on…the landlord is the City of San Diego.

    So if you believe that a tenant is responsible for upkeep…what percentage should the California State University system pay? The stadium is home to SDSU.

  57. The Chargers may very well move here to LA, but no one here will watch them except for a few people who go just for the experience and/or the tickets are free.

    This is a gigantic PR disaster that will spell the end of the Chargers that is 100% the fault of a greedy billionaire.

    Kudos to San Diegoans for telling the NFL to take a hike. Maybe, someday, more taxpayers will wake up and tell sports teams that we will no longer give billionaires a free place to work.

  58. The two issues that caused the whole mess:

    1. Spanos isn’t rich beyond owning the team so he doesn’t have available cash to put into anything himself. No doubt he’s greedy but he’s like the guy with a huge house with empty rooms because he can’t afford any furniture. It’s why Qualcomm is a dump now and why any new stadium would eventually run into the same issues unless the public was paying for every dime of upkeep.

    2. Qualcomm has spent most of its life being treated like it was a temporary structure. Nobody either had the funds to begin with or wanted to spend the funds to keep it up. So even at a $1 per year rent you’re still talking about a dump that will become an even bigger dump. Build a new stadium? Take a look at how they’ve treated the old one. Now, what would be the difference with a new one beyond getting maybe 10 years enjoying the newness before it starts to fall apart from lack of repair?

  59. Build me a Stadium with your hard earned money, Oh btw, when its done I’m gonna gouge you for Tickets to the game, parking and food. Its the least I can do.

  60. pancaketaco says:
    Dec 14, 2016 11:09 AM
    To those of you that rent…Are you expected to pay for the roof if it leaks? I’m sure that 100% agree the answer is no…the chargers do not own the stadium or the land it sits on…the landlord is the City of San Diego.

    So if you believe that a tenant is responsible for upkeep…what percentage should the California State University system pay? The stadium is home to SDSU.


    I don’t rent however I have been a landlord in the past, so I will answer your 1st question. The terms of a rental agreement are negotiable, even more so in commercial agreements. I am constantly involved with construction projects that may have retail, office, or residential units within them. The residential units are always built out completely. However the retail and office units are almost always done by the Tennant, in what is called ‘Tennant fit-out’. It is not uncommon when taking over an entire structure to be responsible for a major part, or all of, the maintenance of the structure.

  61. Oh no, an NFL team owner will have to pay money from his own pocket.
    The travesty, to expect a person to be responsible for his costs.

    For those who are slow, that is called sarcasm.

  62. When a billionaire is infuriated, it usually means there is one less reason for taxpayers to be infuriated.

  63. “Just start winning some freakin games and the wonderful people of San Diego will pay whatever it takes to keep the Chargers where they belong.”

    — The “wonderful people of San Diego” should pay nothing. If the fans want to set up a GoFundMe page for the $2B it will take to build a stadium and gift it to the owners, than I am OK with it. But non-fans should not be forced to provide corporate welfare for a billionaire.

  64. Ok A couple of things

    1. Paying $1 in rent is not owning a building. You are still a tenant. Requiring them to fund $100 million in deferred maintenance projects and $15 million in overhead costs is more expensive then the rent they are currently paying.

    None of those costs improve or upgrade the building. Why would he (or anyone) be interested in that option.

    2. No city has a “right” to any business – whether it is sports, manufacturing, etc. If Spanos feels he can get a better deal outside of San Diego, he should be free to pursue it.

    In like manner, San Diego has a right to decide how important it is for them to retain the franchise. If this is their best offer, and Spanos can get something better elsewhere – it is his right to move.

    Now, to me, this looks like both sides are trying to win the public opinion of who is not the “Villain” in this case – rather than actually trying to retain the Chargers in San Diego.

    Stay, Go – who cares? Just crap or get off the pot. This is getting really tiresome

  65. Good bye Charger’s we are going to miss you, I will be there to support you in LA if you pay for half of the expense hit I’m going to take by this situation, is this the end of Football? Will the lack of support to build stadiums with public money be the end of football? Who knows maybe this signals the global expansion of the NFL, England wants an NFL team, Mexico City wants a team too, who knows maybe the Charger’s or the Raider’s or another team will end up playing their home games abroad ,is not to far fetched, anyway ,I wish the best and all the luck to the Charger’s and the Raider’s whereas they make their home, I’m afraid that is all we can say and do now, time has expired ,and so life goes on,with or without you.

  66. This is all too funny to me. Dean is embarrassed and infuriated by the city council’s proposal because it really exposes Dean Spanos’s financial situation. The proposal is similar to a banner hanging outside a run-down apartment: YOUR JOB IS YOUR CREDIT! or BAD CREDIT, NO PROBLEM! ZERO DOWN, $1 MOVE-IN SPECIAL, 99 YEAR LEASE!

    Dean is not a billionaire if he can’t afford a dollar or the means to maintain his own stadium. He should be embarrassed. If you can’t afford to live in Beverly Hills why even bother looking? Use that $1, Dean. It might be the best money you’ll ever spend in your lifetime.

  67. Dean Spanos and his family deserve to be embarrassed. Like so many NFL owners, he’s just a nepotism baby. It wasn’t enough to inherit a billion dollar business, he thinks San Diego should divert money from parks, schools, library and public safety for a new stadium. THAT’S the embarrassment. These people are shameless

    As a Raiders fan, it breaks my heart that the Raiders might leave Oakland. But if Al Davis’ failson doesn’t want to pay his own way, well, so be it. Besides, I’m betting he fails at that too.

  68. The chargers are caught in “no man’s land” … they would PREFER to stay in the San Diego market, but ONLY if they get a new stadium realized. But they don’t have any leverage here, and the option to move to LaLaLand is hampered by a $650M relocation fee which is a YUUUUGE chunk o’ change to fork out, and only to play “second fiddle” to the Lambs … if they can afford the $650M to move up to Inglewood then why can’t they spend the same amount down here in SAN to invest in new digs?

  69. Great point, bertchiu. I see Spanos and Davis claiming they’re not billionaires (a semantics game as their teams are worth billions, plural), and can’t afford to pay out of pocket to build a stadium. So if they’re that cash poor, how do they plan on paying the relocation fees?

    If these owners can’t afford to build a new stadium, they should sell to someone who can, either a minority interest, or the whole franchise. The values of these teams have exploded since they were originally purchased. And of course, for Mark and Dean, they paid nothing for their teams, so it’s all profit.

  70. The truth is we the fans created these meglomaniacs by buying $100 jerseys, personal seat licenses, memorabilia, overpriced tickets and concessions, and so on. There is no turning back now as the NFL is a monster. You can boycott or stop rooting for your team, but plenty more suckers will step up in other cities, not to mention your own. This coming from a Bill’s fan who knows the NFL won’t be in Buffalo forever.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.