The City of San Diego has an infrastructure deficit of well over $2 billion, and that doesn't include critical projects tied to the water shortage, climate change, and many other things. You can easily double that $2 billion. Realistically, San Diego also has a significant pension deficit. It is figuring that the fund will grow by 7.75 percent a year, which is a big expectation.
An equally pressing question is how much the Spanos family can afford to put into a new stadium. Forbes magazine lists the net worth of the Spanos family at $1.2 billion. Forbes lists the Chargers as worth $995 million, or a hair short of $1 billion. That leaves $200 million and a tiny bit of change that the family has, not counting the Chargers.
The team has been saying that the Spanos family will put $200 million into a new stadium. Unless Forbes is wrong, or unless the money will be borrowed, the family will be putting substantially all its chips into a new stadium. (Of course, the team will count naming and advertising rights as its own contribution, but even if it puts in $100 million in cash, that's a lot of what Forbes says the family is worth, minus the value of the Chargers.)
Dean Spanos has been quoted saying that his father, family patriarch Alex Spanos, now in his 90s, has "severe dementia."
Alex bought 60 percent of the Chargers in 1984 for $48.3 million, and over the next ten years increased his stake to 97 percent. In 2010, it was announced that Spanos would sell a minority interest in the team, but it is not clear that such a transaction ever took place. On the Chargers website, under "Ownership," are three names: Alex Spanos, owner; Dean Spanos, chairman of the board and president, and Michael Spanos, executive vice president. The minority share was expected to be part of a move to Los Angeles. Such a move hasn't taken place and may not.
Right now, there are three billionaires that want to build stadiums in Los Angeles. Here are the Forbes estimates of their wealth: Edward Roski Jr., $3.7 billion; Stanley Kroenke, $5.8 billion (and he is married to a Walton who has almost that much; and Philip Anschutz, $10.3 billion. If the Chargers move to L.A., they may have to sell a controlling interest in the team. The bottom line is that the Spanos family wants to sit at the poker table with a bunch of multi-billionaires and it appears as though they don't have the chips.
In 2010, when Forbes listed the Spanos family's net worth as $1.1 billion, it added that the wealth had grown by $100 million in the past year "as real estate loses [were] offset by increasing value of [the] football squad."
The A.G. Spanos Companies, a large apartment-builder based in Stockton, is privately held, and results are not made public. But what's known suggests the company may still have problems, despite the semi-recovery in real estate since the 2008/2009 crash.
For example, the company has been a big builder in Las Vegas. As of the third quarter of 2014, fully 27.8 percent of Vegas mortgages were upside down — the debt was higher than the home's value. That was the highest underwater rate in the nation. In November of last year, the median home value was $190,000, down from the peak of about $300,000 in 2006/2007. In 2013, the median gross rent had declined from the previous year.
The A.G. Spanos website boasts that "the Preserve," a project in Stockton, will be "the biggest project we have ever undertaken." Stockton, however, has its problems: its median household income in 2013 was $51,432, compared to California's $60,190. Real (inflation-adjusted) per capita income was $21,397, compared with California's $29,513. Stockton went into bankruptcy in 2013.
National Football League rules discourage the relocations of teams. The Los Angeles Rams had to pay $29 million to the league to move to St. Louis almost two decades ago. However, the league definitely wants one or two teams in Los Angeles and would probably waive a stiff relocation fee.