News that Chargers’ owner Alex Spanos was interested in selling a minority stake in the team has gone national over the past two days. Team special counsel Mark Fabiani has said the sale was related to estate planning — Spanos is in poor health — not a move to a new stadium in Los Angeles or anywhere else.
But the Spanos’ sale adds to the series of significant events that’s happened in the past two months. The state eliminated limits on downtown San Diego redevelopment, freeing up money to subsidize a new stadium here. A stadium proposal in downtown Los Angeles — a potential Chargers’ suitor — is gaining momentum.
Here’s how U-T columnist Nick Canepa put it today:
Perception, as they say of politics and NFL franchises that could be moving to other cities, is everything. And, for the moment at least, the perception from here to Boston is that the Chargers may be a lame duck, close to backing up the moving vans and heading north to L.A.
Perception isn’t always the truth — and in this case it may not be — but there is no more poisonous term in sports than lame duck, and even though it may be in its ugly duckling stage, it’s quacking.
Since I started covering the Chargers stadium saga last year, lots of people have told me that the key to the resolution would come once someone — the Chargers, the city, an L.A. developer — developed a plan that forced the other side to say yes or walk away. Despite all the sites batted around San Diego County over the years, from Qualcomm to Chula Vista to Escondido, etc. — that’s never happened here.
My colleague Scott Lewis described the situation last month:
… it does appear as though we are heading into the final, dramatic act of this long story. We may still have to sit through four more years of the play, but this is the final act. It’s the climatic long-anticipated showdown with Los Angeles.
News like Spanos selling part of the team only will speed up the process — and lead people try to read Chargers’ tea leaves more closely. For instance, the Chargers can buy out of their lease at Qualcomm every year. Fabiani deflected a question from the U-T’s Matt Hall about that:
… we will address that issue in due course, but not today when whatever we say is likely to get lost in the confusion that inevitably occurs after an issue like this breaks.
Please contact Liam Dillon directly at email@example.com or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.