I Am Dean Spanos

Yesterday, NFL owner Dean Spanos walked into his San Diego office and told his staff that after 56 years they were moving the franchise to Los Angeles.

Of course, news had already broken. Of course, the staff had probably already assumed it was coming.

As news swirled the past few years you can bet every employee of the franchise has looked at houses on Zillow or wondered if they were going to be offered a chance to move to LA with the team.

But here was the owner.

The day had arrived.

He had to walk into the room and tell them in his own words.

Yesterday, NFL owner Dean Spanos became the most hated man in San Diego.      Reaction was instant and vile. Fans through eggs at their offices, returned used jerseys and gear while charities popped up to collect them for the homeless. Social media raged against him.

The Business Reality for Dean Spanos and the Chargers

Let’s all admit that this is the worst logo in sports history.

Prior to talk of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles the team was valued at something like $1.3 billion. Just talking about moving increased their value to $2.08 billion. (Forbes) Actually moving to Los Angeles will likely increase their value to about $2.5 billion. So the Spanos families reality was… stay in San Diego, investing your own money in a new stadium and see your valuation go back to $1.3.-$1.6 billion or move to Los Angeles, become a no-risk tenant at the Rams new stadium, and see your business increase in value to $2.5 billion.

It was a billion dollar decision. 

Moving to LA was the best decision for him. Even if he adores the city of San Diego, it’s fans, the past 56 years of history here. We’re talking about doubling the value of your business by moving 2 hours north.

Yep. People got hurt. Yep. Some people will lose their jobs.

I Am Dean Spanos

Sometimes the best decision for you will hurt other people. If you’ve got potential to do better. If you’ve got aspirations of excellence. If you want what’s best for you sometimes you’ve got to walk in and tell a room full of people news that’s better for you than it is for them.

I love this scene from Good Will Hunting. (Excuse the bad language, we’re grown-ups talking, right?)

I was thinking about this earlier today as I was driving my daughter to school: Who am I to judge Dean Spanos for saying yes to doubling the value of his NFL franchise? 

I would have done the same thing.

I have done the same thing. Sure, I’m not an NFL owner. But I’m a person who has walked into a room of people who loved me and told them I’d made a decision to move on, to do what was best for me and my family, even when it was bad for them.

I’m not somehow better than Dean Spanos.

I am Dean Spanos.

And, like I told Megan this morning, if you want to be successful you’re going to have to be comfortable handling that conversation professionally.

The truly sad thing is that there are plenty of other Dean Spanos’ out there too afraid to make a move that they’d rather wait for their lottery ticket to expire than have that conversation.

So here’s my advice: You owe it to yourself. And you owe it to guys like Chuckie Sullivan in your life. I don’t know what your lottery ticket is. But I believe that some of us are sitting on one.

Stop wasting time. Cash it in.

Published by Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

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6 Comments

  1. What you’re missing here clearly is this. Why should you harm thousands of other people so YOU can have more money in your pocket? This is clearly an example of the fundamental problem in this country right now. There are those of us that wish to stay and work together to find a better way for ALL those affected to have it better or there are those that say ” I will do this for the betterment of myself and mine because that is all that matters. Please don’t speak of San Diego and what did or did not happen here between Spanos, the city and the fans – you are not a San Diegan, you are someone who is trying to please this team owner for this and future bylines. Thanks for your input, but I’m sorry, you maybe “Spanos”, but that’s your problem, not your solution.

    1. Except Adam IS a San Diegan. And if he doesn’t mind me speaking for him, I’m pretty sure he didn’t write this for Spanos’s benefit.

      The point is that many times, we humans DO choose the betterment of ourselves and ours – not necessarily because that’s ALL that matters, but because that’s what matters most when weighed against everything else. And if we pretend we always choose the “greater good”, we are fooling ourselves.

      1. Thanks Jennifer. If something thinks this post is about Dean Spanos they need to read it more clearly.

        One thing holding so many people back is that they are more worried about disappointing someone holding them back than they are reaching their potential.

  2. Unfortunately sir your very wrong. It’s the fans and San Diego that made Mr Spanos a billionaire to begin with…. that’s not how you do business with those that made you rich. Now karma will take its course in LA

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