You may have noticed a flurry of recent headlines, something about the Chargers seeking an escape from Los Angeles.
Evidently St. Louis is being floated as a possible destination to serve as a safe space for Chargers owner Dean Spanos. He can land here to be nurtured back to mental and financial health.
And why would Spanos — hypothetically speaking of course — be squirming to evacuate Los Angeles?
The Chargers relocated from San Diego to LA for 2017, and will become Stan Kroenke’s tenants in the Inglewood-based football-stadium-mall-Walmart-complex that’s scheduled to open in 2020.
I can think of plenty of reasons why Spanos would look for a way to parachute out of there.
Let’s follow the trail of greed and stupidity.
A) Would you want to have Stan Kroenke for a landlord? Probably not. Hell, no. What was Spanos thinking?
B) The Chargers have approximately 119 fans in the greater Los Angeles area. Their decision to take The 5 from San Diego north to seek refuge in LA was not well received. There was no welcome mat, let alone a red carpet. Wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke at the time: “We. Don’t. Want. You.”
C) Until moving in with Uncle Jed Kroenke in 2020, the Chargers are playing home games at the StubHub Center, a 27,000-seat soccer venue in facility in the LA suburbs.
D) Despite the small seating capacity, the Chargers have struggled to sell out home games.
E) The Chargers’ “home” games frequently are taken over by a huge delegation of fans rooting for the visiting team.
F) The excellent Seth Wickersham of ESPN recently reported that the Chargers are coming up short in the effort to sell personal seat licenses for Kroenke’s stadium. Because of that, the Chargers are expected to lower their initial revenue goals for the 2020 season from $400 million to around $150 million.
G) NFL owners are said to be worried. Wickersham reports the owners have discussed the “viability” of the Chargers staying in a market that doesn’t want or care about them. And the relationship between Kroenke and Spanos is rather unfriendly, with lawsuits already flying back and forth.
H) The Chargers are so desperate, their president of business operations (A.G. Spanos) is trying to pitch the seat licenses as a unique bargain, who have the opportunity to pounce on abnormally low prices for tickets ($50 and $90) and PSLs (minimum $100) that cover about 25,000 seats at Kroenke’s “Stan’s Club” for the Rich and Powerful.
The Chargers have few options.
So the NFL (sarcasm alert) in a heartfelt effort to help the Spanos family lift their way out of poverty, is planting little rumors through the media … hoping to lure some open football-free market into taking the bait.
St. Louis, of course, is a natural target for these predators for several reasons.
Two NFL franchises — Chicago Cardinals and LA Rams — moved here to cash in after encountering financial challenges in their markets. And both moved away.
This is the only city in modern NFL history to fund a publicly financed stadium for the league — which enticed the Rams to head to the Midwest in 1995 — then offer to fund a SECOND publicly financed stadium to keep the Rams here. Even though St. Louis is still paying off the first stadium, we were ready to roll over for the NFL and do it again with a second and more expensive facility.
No city in America has ever presented two publicly-funded stadiums to the NFL. And this happened over 25-year period. Two new football stadiums in 25 years? And the NFL sneered?
With that in mind …
OF COURSE the NFL would want to come knocking to see if we’re still sufficiently naive to snap to it and build that second stadium that never materialized because of the league’s crooked, nefarious relocation process.
League operatives haven’t made any direct contact. But the idea is being put out there in an attempt to gauge or town’s interest. And sure enough some in the STL media have been panting, hyperventilating, and going into convulsions over this … playing the stooge, just as the NFL hoped … Hey, MAYBE this Chargers thing COULD happen!
A sports-talk dude in Denver — is he the league’s emissary or something? — has been making the radio rounds here locally, encouraging St. Louis to step up. We ran this story on our site: “NFL Insider Says STL Should Make Pitch to Chargers; Says League ‘Unofficially’ Feels Guilty.”
That’s one of the best headlines ever. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.
Make a pitch St. Louis!
The NFL is ‘unofficially’ sorry!
Not officially sorry … but unofficially sorry.
Unofficially sorry for a rigged and corrupt relocation process in which the NFL violated its own rules for franchise moves in a desperate desire to appease Kroenke and get the Rams to Los Angeles … only because Kroenke was willing to pay the costs for a new stadium there.
And Kroenke, the fake Missourian, was the ONLY chance that the league would have — ever — to get a Los Angeles stadium built. The new estimates have a final stadium-construction cost of nearly $3 billion, and Kroenke is picking up the entire tab.
St. Louis was collateral damage.
Despite the offer to build a SECOND stadium for the NFL even before the FIRST stadium was paid off, St. Louis had its NFL franchise ripped away to satiate the league’s lust for money.
Now, here we are.
Wouldn’t it be so nice of the NFL to do us such a generous and extremely kind favor by extending us the privilege of building a new stadium to bail Spanos out for making one of the dumbest decisions in the history of sports mankind? That’s really swell of commissioner Rodger Goodell and the benevolent souls that surround him.
Oh, and there’s another small matter …
Kroenke, the NFL and its owners are being sued by the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and tortious interference.
The NFL was stunned when an order issued by a Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District Judge affirmed an earlier decision by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Chris McGraugh — rejecting Kroenke’s request to get the claims taken out of the court system and moved to arbitration.
The NFL could be in some trouble here; at least one legal expert thinks so.
This little matchmaking idea of putting the Chargers and St. Louis together for a happy union would make the lawsuit disappear. My, these NFL people sure are clever. As the kids would say, LOL.
OK, let’s make a deal.
Here are the proposed terms:
1. The NFL and its owners including Spanos and Kroenke agree to fund the entire cost of a St. Louis football stadium. Every penny. No exception. That includes any auxiliary expense such as land purchase, utility work, changes to roadways. Everything.
2. The NFL and its owners including Spanos and Kroenke agree to pay off the remaining debt on the Edward Jones Dome.
3. The NFL and its owners including Spanos and Kroenke agree to give St. Louis an additional $250 million to renovate the Edward Jones Dome.
4. The NFL and its owners agree to pay back the money spent in good faith for the planning for the St. Louis stadium project that the league walked away from — this, after encouraging the stadium effort for well over a year.
5. The NFL and its owners agree to fund the entire cost of a new team headquarters and practice facility in the city of St. Louis — to be built in an area of neglect to stimulate redevelopment and growth.
5a. The NFL agrees to present a $50 million gift to St. Louis public schools.
5b. And another $50 million gift to the St. Louis Police Department.
6. The NFL and Spanos agree that a majority ownership share of the football franchise will be sold to St. Louis-based owners within five years.
7. The NFL agrees that the “Chargers” name and colors would be retired and stored until the great city of San Diego gets another NFL team. This is what the Cleveland Browns agreed to do when moving to Baltimore to become the purple-and-black Baltimore Ravens. And the Browns nickname and colors belonged to Cleveland when the city received an NFL expansion team. That way the St. Louis team would have a new name, colors, and ownership.
8. Commissioner Goodell and the NFL owners will write a formal letter of apology to the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and St. Louis sports fans — and acknowledge that the Rams’ relocation protocol was fixed to deny STL from having a fair chance to keep the team here.
9. If all of these terms are met, we will suspend the lawsuit. The league will pay all legal costs.
10. Commissioner Goodell shall resign, effective immediately.
Does that sound good to you, NFL?
If that’s acceptable to you, we’ll think about it.
Thanks for reading …