How can Dean Spanos win back his fans? It really depends on which fans he needs to win back.
There are die-hard Chargers fans. These fans buy season tickets, have cars decked out in Chargers gear and sport their gear wherever they go. These are the fans who were upset about the relocation drama yet are morely likely to follow the team to LA or the moon. They are all about the Chargers!
Then there are the San Diego city fans. They too are die hard. They attend games, buy season tickets, watch their beloved team on TV and deck out their cars with Chargers gear. They are fans of the Chargers because they are the team in San Diego. Some of these fans would gladly welcome the Raiders with open arms if they ever came to San Diego. They are all about the city of San Diego!
Lastly, is the casual and somewhat fair-weathered fan. They might go to a game but probably will just watch it on TV. If the team is having a bad year, they might not follow as closely. They like the Chargers but would not be upset if they leave. They are all about just rooting on a team.
The hardest fans to win back are the city fans. The die-hard Chargers fans are upset but willing to believe that Dean Spanos is genuine in his claim to want to stay in San Diego. The city fans will be more skeptical. They are still upset about the team wanting to up an leave their beloved city.
One way to win fans back is to fire Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani. Fabiani was been with the Chargers since 2002. He was the hated man in this crazy relocation roller coaster since he was basically of the voice of the Chargers. The chances of that happening is very unlikely, but he has been MIA in the last week.
Dean Spanos needs to be the one to make the statements and to address the media. As much as fans hated Mark Fabiani, more fans are upset that Spanos let him do all the talking. Dean needs to show that city and the fans that he wants to stay by being vocal and visible. Spanos has never been a very public person but being public is very critical to gain the respect of the fans.
The Chargers need to look at both options, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego and weigh all the options. The city needs to allow Spanos to take charge of the negotiations. If Spanos is in charge, he will work harder to get it done. His approach would be more sincere to the fans.
Dean Spanos needs to work with Tom Tolesco on improving the team. The fair-weathered fans are not going to vote for a stadium if the team is having losing seasons, like the the 2015 season. It’s a harsh reality of the city of San Diego. If the team isn’t playing well, the citizens can find plenty of other things to do on a Sunday. A winning team, with a chance to make the playoffs in November, could sway some voters to approve public money for a new stadium.
Dean, along with Mark Fabiani, need to make an apology to the fans. It needs to be heart felt and sincere. They need to assure the fans that they do matter to the Chargers as much as the Chargers matter to the fans.
Lastly, the fans need to forgive Spanos and realize how hard this has been for him and the organization. It is not easy to be defeated. It is even harder to come back to the ones you might have wronged and try to mend the relationship. Dean Sopanos and the Chargers need to see that the fans are still upset but have not given up yet.
Let’s hope 2016 is not the roller coaster ride like 2015. Save our Bolts!