This part of the year is always a slow time for NFL news. The early free agency frenzy is over, and the draft is still weeks away.
That has not stopped the Los Angeles Chargers from being in the news for off-the-field drama.
A recent court filing has called the future ownership of the team into question.
What is happening
Chargers fans have long been unhappy with the Spanos family ownerships. Most of that stems from the unpopular move from San Diego to Los Angeles.
There is also the fact that the Chargers have not been competitive in years.
Overall, the city of Los Angeles seems largely indifferent about Charger's ownership. The Chargers are at best the second most popular team in Los Angeles.
Dea Spanos Berberian filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court petitioning to put 1/3 of the team’s ownership stake up for sale. She claims that the franchise is creating an $11 million yearly loss for the family trust.
Nearly 83% of the family trust is made up of its stake in the Chargers.
According to the petition:
“The trust is so heavily concentrated in owning a minority stake in a professional football team that beneficiaries have no choice but to depend almost solely on the rise or fall of the team. Maintaining the status quo is not an option.”
The petition described the risks that come with a lack of diversification in the trust.
“Every day that passes increases the risks that the charitable beneficiaries and the Spanos family legacy will suffer irreparable financial and reputational damage.”
Who owns the team exactly?
Here is the current breakdown of the Chargers ownership:
- 60% belongs to the Spanos Siblings. The four Spanos siblings own 15% each.
- 36% is managed by the family trust.
- 4% is owned by non-family members.
The rest of the family is not happy with the court filing. They made it clear that they don’t have any intention of selling the team.
“Our parents, Alex and Faye, wanted the Chargers to be part of the Spanos Family for generations to come. For the three of us the Chargers is one of our family’s most important legacies, just as it was for our parents. Unfortunately, our sister Dea seems to have a different and misguided personal agenda. If Dea no longer wishes to be part of this family legacy, the three of us stand ready to purchase her share of the franchise, as our agreements give us the right to do. In the meanwhile, the operations of the Chargers will be entirely unaffected by this matter, which relates only to the 36 percent share of the team that was owned by our parents. The three of us are entitled to three-fourths of that 36 percent share in any event, and under no circumstances will this situation impact control of the franchise. The three of us will remain firmly united as we seek to fulfill our parents’ wishes to make every decision in the best interests of the Los Angeles Chargers.”
How much are the Chargers worth?
Anytime wealthy people fight in court, you can bet a lot of money is involved. This case is no exception. The Los Angeles Chargers are valued at $2.6 billion by Forbes.
That value is expected to increase with the new NFL media rights deal. The new deal will bring in more than $10 billion per year starting in 2023.
The Chargers also expect revenue to increase once Los Angeles’s SoFi Stadium starts allowing fans.
Jeff Bezos has been linked to 4 teams in the last 3 years. It is only natural that his name is brought up again.
If the Chargers do end up being sold, he will undoubtedly be one of the people bidding on them.
He definitely has enough money to buy the club. He is currently the world’s richest person with a net worth of $185 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.