The death of Los Angeles Chargers’ owner Alex Spanos in 2018 shook the NFL world. In 1984, he purchased 60 percent of the team from Eugene Klein for a cool $70 million. Of course, owning a slight majority wasn’t enough for Spanos, and he spent the next decade buying minority owners out of their shares.
By the time the Chargers reached the Super Bowl in 1994, Spanos owned 97 percent of the team. It was the pinnacle of his ownership, and it was overseen proudly by his son, Dean. Since that year, Dean has maintained control of the franchises day-to-day operations. Most recently, he moved the team to Los Angeles after a years-long battle with San Diego over funding a new stadium.
After his passing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “He was a marvelous friend and partner, whose impact on the NFL will never be forgotten. We all benefited from Alex’s compassion, character and zest for football and life.” One of six children, it had always been Spanos’ dream to own an NFL team.
Born in 1923, Alex Spanos became a billionaire working in construction and real estate. With his wealth, he donated generously to hospitals, education, and the arts. By the end of his life, he might not have been the most loved figure in San Diego, but the positive impact of his actions will live on in the city, and the state, for decades to come.