NFL

Los Angeles Chargers Set To Be Sold As Spanos Family Rifts Laid Bare?

Dean Spanos, the owner of the Los Angeles Chargers football team, is facing a battle to hold on to his football team. Spanos’ sister, Dea Spanos Berberian has sought a court ruling to force her brother to sell the Chargers.

The petition by Mrs Spanos Berberian alleges that Dean Spanos purchase and stewardship of the club has led to severe internal family strife and has put their legacy and personal wealth at risk.

Her damning indictment of how her brother has run and financed the club, and the scale of financial mismanagement that has followed, is another blow to the Chargers organisation. One that has already had its struggles since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Controversial Move

After alienating a passionate fan base in San Diego when Spanos announced the move in 2017, the Chargers have struggled to gain a foothold in America’s second-largest city.

Despite getting a good deal on the new stadium through Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the Chargers have struggled to find a market in L.A. That despite having the Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert and the highest paid defensive player, Joey Bosa, on the team.

They have made some progress, merchandising sales have doubled over the last five years, but in a city that is already stacked with top quality sporting teams, and which already has a historical link with the other franchise that moved to L.A, the Rams, the Chargers always seemed like a struggle to fit.

Just how much this has affected the organization’s finances have now been laid bare in Mrs Spanos Berberian’s deposition to the court.

Letter Promising To Sell The Chargers?

At the heart of the squabble seems to be a signed letter from Dean Spanos to his siblings. In this letter he promises to retain an investment bank within 30 days of the end of the 2024 season, which would be the teams fifth at the SoFi Stadium, in order to sell the club.

The issue seems to revolve around what this letter means. Whether it refers to the sale of the entire team, or the investment bank determining the value of the team so that Dea could sell her sizeable stake in the team for an appropriate price.

Both Mr Spanos and his sister have engaged high-profile lawyers to fight their battle. Dea has engaged the services of Adam Streisand, a familiar name in L.A, who helped Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Clippers and Jeanie Buss in her attempt to take control of the Lakers.

Timing Of The Court Filing No Coincidence

It is clear from the evidence submitted by Mrs Spanos Berberian that there have been issues within the family and with her brother for some time.

However, the fact that the NFL has just signed a lucrative new 10-year media rights deal, means that club incomes have been given a massive boost for the decade ahead. That means that the values of NFL teams are unlikely to be any higher than they are at the moment. At least for the foreseeable future.

With their internal family strife laid bare in the courts, Spanos faces a battle with his sister to retain ownership of the Chargers. While no change of owners is imminent, there will not be any shortage of interest in the team should they become available on the market once again.

There is also the issue of the ‘Flip Tax’ attached by the NFL to San Diego’s move to LA, which prevented Spanos from cashing in on the move to a more lucrative market by immediately selling the team.

A change of owner may not be an immediate concern for the Chargers, but it is a very real prospect once the battle in court has concluded.

What that means for the Spanos family, team and its future, remains to be seen.

*Featured Image Courtesy of DeejayCC BY S.A 2.0

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