PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Welcome to San Diego, the one place in the U.S. where National Football League team owners still think that keeping the home team off of local television will get them a new stadium.After we took the time to congratulate owners on 12 weeks without an NFL blackout and the UT San Diego ran an editorial demanding public support for a new Chargers stadium, the Spanos family that owns the Chargers threw out all that goodwill with the Thanksgiving leftovers by taking the team's Sunday game against the Cincinnati Bengals off the air. The Chargers were 5,300 tickets short of a sellout as of Thanksgiving afternoon, which automatically triggered the NFL blackout rule that demands games be sold out 72 hours before kickoff if they are to be televised. Don't blame the NFL and its backward blackout rule for this one, however. Blame the Chargers and the Spanos family for engaging in a spite war with their hometown and flat-out refusing to use the tools that would allow them to avoid such blackouts. The Spanos clan is fully aware that it or one of its team's sponsors can buy up remaining tickets at a third of face value and give them away to charities to keep the game on air. Despite the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and other teams have used that loophole this year -- and that ESPN and local sponsors helped buy up 8,500 tickets earlier this season to keep a Monday Night Football matchup between the Chargers and Indianapolis Colts on the air in Southern California -- the Spanos clan has been loathe to embrace that option. "We're in one of the oldest stadiums in the league, and don't have opportunities that other teams have to increase revenue with things like a bigger naming rights deal or digital signage," executive vice president and CEO Alex Spanos told the North County Times a few years ago before blacking out a preseason home game. "We rely heavily on ticket sales as a primary revenue stream. This market has shown an ability to sell out games over the last 10 years, and we need to take advantage of that."
I'm less concerned about where a stadium may or may not be located. What I'm primarily concerned about is any financing plan has to protect the taxpayers.That bodes ill for the Spanos family chipping in only $100 million for what initial plans indicate is a $1 billion to $1.5 billion project. It looks even more grave when Faulconer's opponent, Democrat David Alvarez, says he wants a multipurpose facility and doesn't want a whole lot of tax money spent on it. Before the season began, we indicated that the Chargers were one of the teams most likely to black out home games this season and that they should probably just move already. With nowhere to go, the Spanos fan is using the last, most punitive weapon it has to squeeze as many tax dollars out of its fans as possible. However, with taxpayers unwilling to make a sizable donation to the Chargers' wealthy owners and blackouts only further disenfranchising fans already disappointed by the product on the field, the Spanos family has negotiated itself into a corner. With each blackout and hollow threat, the Chargers owners lose yardage in the drive toward their dream home. -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.