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Volume 25 No. 199

Franchises

Equal shares of 15% belong to Alex Spanos' four adult children, including Dean, who serves as Chargers Chair
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The death of Chargers Owner Alex Spanos "will pass on" a 36% stake in the franchise to his family heirs, according to a source cited by Tom Krasovic of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Alex Spanos' son, Chargers Chair Dean Spanos, will "remain control owner" of the franchise, a role he has held since NFL owners "approved him" in '06. Equal shares of 15% belong to Alex Spanos' "four adult children," including Dean, meaning that Spanos family members will "continue to own" a 96% share in the Chargers Football Company. The remaining 4% stake "belongs to holdovers from the Eugene Klein-headed ownership group." Because the 36% stake being passed on does "not include controlling interest in the club," the IRS' determination of its value is "expected to be less" than a 36% valuation of the franchise. Any tax payment that results from the inheritance "would not be due as a lump sum but could be spread out" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/10). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio cited a source as saying that Alex Spanos "commenced the process of planning for the transfer of the team" in '98. The goal was to "ensure that the Spanos family would be able to continue to own and operate the franchise for as long as they choose to do so" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 10/9).

IN REMEMBRANCE: In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes as Chargers Owner, Alex Spanos "never managed to endear himself to San Diegans." Maybe it "would have helped had he not been an absentee owner" and left his native Stockton, Calif. He "always seemed the irascible outsider, although he spent a lot of time in San Diego and did so much anonymous charity work." Spanos' 10 years running the Chargers were "turbulent, at best." The "greatest thing" Spanos did was "hire Bobby Beathard as GM, who turned a horrible team" into a Super Bowl participant in '94 (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/10). NFL.com's Jim Trotter wrote Spanos' demeanor was "direct, transparent, forceful." Loyalty "meant everything to him" and "so did family" (NFL.com, 10/9). Saints QB Drew Brees, who played for the Chargers, said of Alex Spanos, "You always felt like (Spanos) really cared about the team, really cared about the success of the team and whenever he would come around, he was very engaging with players, with coaches. You just felt like he really, really cared and that meant a lot" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 10/9).

The NWSL claims MLB waited too long to act after the league used resources to establish the Royals brand

The NWSL "denied there is a trademark infringement" against the MLB Royals in response to a "suit filed in late August" regarding the NWSL Utah Royals name, according to Brandon Judd of the DESERET NEWS. The MLB Royals "filed an opposition" on Aug. 29 with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, "claiming trademark infringement" by the NWSL over its team and trademark. The Utah Royals played their "first professional season" in the NWSL in '18. In their response, the NWSL "outlined eight affirmative defenses to the claims" made by the MLB Royals. The third defense claims that MLB has "long known" about the NWSL and the Utah Royals but "waited well after the NWSL had used significant resources to establish the Utah Royals brand before acting." The NWSL also "challenged there is no evidence of confusion between the brands," and that the suit was filed "for the ulterior purpose of demoralizing Women's Soccer and stifling professional female sports leagues in general." In the original trademark suit, the MLB Royals "claimed that the Royals FC logo, which incorporates a lion and crown design, are symbols closely tied" to the MLB team (DESERETNEWS.com, 10/9). NWSL Portland Thorns Owner Merritt Paulson tweeted, "You should be ashamed @Royals (and @MLB for that matter). You believe a women’s soccer team in Utah creates confusion with or lessens your brand? Pretty disgusting lawsuit" (TWITTER.com, 10/9).

BOUND & DETERMINED: In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff notes last November, an attorney for the Utah Royals "contacted a lawyer" for the MLB Royals to say that the Utah franchise was "considering the Royals nickname." The attorney's response was that the MLB Royals are "not in favor of this, and overall I would not encourage you to be very optimistic" (K.C. STAR, 10/10). In Salt Lake City, Alex Vejar noted there was "initial concern" in naming the NWSL team the Royals because the team was, "in effect, replacing the team" from K.C. However, Utah Royals Owner Dell Loy Hansen was "determined." Hansen said, "We're going to make a logo. Sue us" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/10).

THE ATHLETIC's Sean Gordon wrote the Canadiens seem to be "working unusually hard to sell tickets that have gotten pricier even as the team has underachieved." The 15-year waiting list for season tickets and a "sold-out building are evidently no longer foregone conclusions" for the franchise. Canadiens Owner Geoff Molson said, "The reality is you can now get a ticket to any game or any event minutes before it starts, if you want. The mindset is different. That said, our season ticket base is still very healthy, and in a bad season like we just had we might have a 3, 4, 5 percent drop but you renew that with others" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/9).

GOING RETRO: In Pittsburgh, Chris Bradford noted the Penguins have "unveiled the alternate jerseys that they will wear for a dozen games this season." The new sweaters, which are "based in Pittsburgh gold with black sleeves and white and gold striping, harken back" to the team's '80s uniforms and to the ones they wore in the '17 Stadium Series game at Heinz Field. The "consensus in the Penguins' dressing room" has been "overwhelmingly positive." The team will wear the jerseys "for the first time" Nov. 15 against the Lightning (DKPITTSBURGHSPORTS.com, 10/9).

SILVER EDITION: In Miami, Jordan McPherson noted the Panthers "unveiled a 120-plus page commemorative magazine that connects the start of the franchise with the modern-day team" ahead of their 25th season. The Panthers partnered with Miami Beach-based Whitehaus Media Group to "create the magazine and took the players out of their comfort zone at times to bring out the human-side of the athletes." Panthers D Aaron Ekblad "served as the cover man" for the magazine, which features him "at a horse ranch" in Davie. For the magazine, the group also "went deep-sea fishing" with Panthers RW Nick Bjugstad and "rode bikes in Boca Raton" with C Aleksander Barkov Jr. (MIAMIHERALD.com, 10/9).