You Think You Have Stadium Issues?

Al Davis brought his close friend Alex Spanos into the NFL in 1984, and since then the old man has had an uphill battle trying to win over the die hard fans in SD. <br><br> He has been perceived as too close to the enemy to be trusted, and that is a hard image to break free of.

That said, his involvement in the community has been so low key that he hasn't garnered enough appreciation for his charities from the general public.

The Spanoses are private people who are in the public eye, and they have been hesitant to embrace the potential of public relations.

Sometimes this resistance has bordered on idiotic, considering the importance of marketing in professional sports.

I'm not sure of it is a case of simply not wanting to deal with hyperbole, but the concept of positive PR has seemingly eluded them.

When Mark "the Master of Disaster" Fabiani was hired as the club's mouthpiece for negotiations with the city, it seemed the team had finally embraced the concept.

Not grandfathering free agents, and his own players, into the salary cap back in 1993 has badly hurt the team, and it still has had a ripple effect on cap space to this very day. This has also hurt him with the core fans (at least those fans with knowledge of it having occurred).

The biggest issue today facing the Chargers is the stadium issue.

The outcome will define not only the future of pro football in San Diego, but ultimately the way the Spanos family, for all their charity, are regarded and remembered in the community.

Personally, I believe the move of the Chargers training camp to Carson was a brilliant idea. It forces the city council to consider the possibility of a further franchise commitment to the area. This is solid negotiating strategy, and it may actually become the foundation for good faith negotiation from the city in the near future.

I don't think the Chargers are going anywhere.

The Spanos family has so many ties to the community through their work for the cure Huntington disease and Chargers Champions, which provides academic scholarships and much more, to the youth of San Diego.

It would be excruciatingly difficult for the Spanoses to pull up stakes.

The toxic wasteland adjacent to the new Home Depot Center has too many environmental concerns to be developed quickly enough for the NFL's target of 2006.

EPA factors beyond even clean up regulations could keep the site, which has been closed since 1964, in limbo for decades.

The Rose Bowl and the Coliseum would each require more commitment from the league than seems realistic.

The real player in the Los Angeles area is likely Chavez Ravine.

The Glazer family is poised to purchase the Dodgers from Newscorp, which also owns Fox. Several NFL execs are already on record in as preferring that site a decade ago when former Dodger CEO Peter O'Malley looked into the possibility of building a football stadium adjacent to Dodger Stadium.

When you look at the potential problems with land use issues, redevelopment fund issues, infastructure issues, Public tax money issues, etc, etc, etc...

Chavez Ravine clearly has the least "headache potential" for the NFL.

-Gary Molyneaux

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