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Mixed league references aside, allow me to present the argument that the best way to fix the problems of offensive team owners is to change the ownership model away from individual owners and towards their communities.

One not often touched-upon fact is that the Green Bay Packers football club of the National Football League is unique in American professional sports. Its ownership not being being held by an individual or investment group, but as a community-owned franchise:

Quoth Wikipedia:

The Packers are the only community-owned franchise in American professional sports major leagues.[22] Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity, i.e., a "team owner." The lack of a dominant owner has been stated as one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of only 102,313 people as of the 2000 census.[23] While the team is operated as a non-profit organization, technically it is a for-profit corporation because under Wisconsin law non-profit corporations cannot issue stock.


Green Bay is the only team with this form of ownership structure in the NFL; such ownership is in direct violation of current league rules, which stipulate a limit of 32 owners of one team and one of those owners having a minimum 30% stake. However, the Packers corporation was grandfathered when the NFL's current ownership policy was established in the 1980s,[26] and are thus exempt. The Packers are also the only American major-league sports franchise to release its financial balance sheet every year.

The NBA, along with other leagues, could do far worse than use the Donald Sterling mess as a perfect opportunity to allow and encourage other teams to do likewise.

Of course, when Big Money is involved, good ideas take the back seat...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (25+ / 0-)

    "In whose delusional mind is democracy made better by allowing wealthy people to control more of it?" -Jon Stewart

    by radabush on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:12:02 PM PDT

  •  Rec and tip x1000 ^^^^ | nt (5+ / 0-)

    Nuance is lost upon those who choose not to look.

    by poliwrangler on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:24:02 PM PDT

  •  This drives Walker wingnuts bonkers (11+ / 0-)

    When you point out the socialistic structure of the Packers to Walker's minions in Wisconsin, they look confused and then angry. They simply can't process it.

    This structure would not be allowed to exist for another NFL franchise, there is a rule against it. The Packers were grandfathered in. Not sure what the NBA rules say, but I would not be surprised if public ownership was prohibited. Professional sports teams are trophies for the super-rich. Why would they want the unwashed masses admitted to their exclusive club?

    It is a special feeling to sit at Lambeau and realize there isn't a billionaire owner, because the public owns it.

  •  Love this Green Bay model (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, art ah zen, FarWestGirl

    We also need to move away from corporation ownership (corporations are people) of our democracy to ownership by the people.

    Sports represent a  microcosm of what is happening in America, to Americans. The rich are trying to make America into a plantation.

  •  Especially since the mega stadiums (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, art ah zen, Odysseus, FarWestGirl

    are built with taxpayer money.

    This drives me insane!

    Then the cost to go to a game is in the hundreds.

    Does any of this money 'trickle down' to the taxpayer?

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:37:29 AM PDT

  •  Using the name of the city (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    art ah zen, FarWestGirl

    I especially think this ownership should apply whenever a team uses the name or resources of a city.  If the city has built your stadium, if you call the team the "Gotham City Hoodads", then the team can't be somebody's private plaything.  The city (public) needs to be the primary owner.

    If some rich asshole wants to build a stadium and fund a team and sell tickets, then he can do so, but then the team is called "Paul Allen's Trailblazers", not the Portland Trailblazers.  

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:03:01 AM PDT

  •  Packers benefit from innovation of others (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B

    Community ownership may have its benefits, but the Packers have earned much from the creative efforts of individual owners such as George Halas, George Preston Marshall (the Donald Sterling of his day and worse), Clint Murchison, Jack Kent Cooke.

    The pure profit incentive (perhaps over riding the need to win titles) of these men, led to much of the innovation that is the modern NFL: TV contracts, sky boxes, half time shows.

    A simple example. Until the mid 1970s, home NFL games were blacked out locally (due to federal law). Jack Kent Cooke and Clint Murchison did much to get that repealed.

  •   Why dont more teams follow the Packer model? (5+ / 0-)

    because the leagues don't permit it. you cant have a group of more than 30 'owners'. the Packers were grandfathered in, because that had been their structure since the early 1920s. why dont more states follow north dakota's example and have a single state bank? becauase that would be socialist.

  •  Bypass the pro franchises. Just establish new (0+ / 0-)

    sports leagues based on mass ownership, a la the Packers.
        When you think about it, it's stupid to base community spirit on a sports corporation.
         End the sports corp. shakedowns of communities. Just have city based leagues owned by the people.
         You don't have to get corporate sportsball companies to agree.

    •  They're really not corporate (0+ / 0-)

      Teams are by and large not owned by corporations, they're owned by individuals.  They're rich-guy toys, not corporate investments.

    •  Yeah this will work well... (0+ / 0-)

      Efforts to start new, competing sports leagues have almost always failed, often spectacularly.  Do you really think the vast majority of sports fans will shun the Dallas Cowboys, NY Giants, etc. for community based leagues?  You'd be better served shredding money and flushing it straight down the toilet.  

  •  I love the Packers' model (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I'm really not convinced it's repeatable, even if everyone went along with it in the league offices.  They're not community owned in the sense that they're owned by the City of Green Bay or the State of Wisconsin.  

    Like other corporations, they're owned by their stockholders, who get in by buying shares.  The neat part is that if the team is ever sold or moves out of Green bay, the profits would go to the American Legion (later changed to the Green Bay Packers Foundation).  Plus, nobody is allowed to own more than a few shares, preventing a dominant owner from coming in and mucking it up.  The structure came together in an era when teams were much, much less valuable.

    Owning Packers' stock is a novelty.  It's not really worth anything: you don't get dividends, you can't sell it, and your voting rights don't go that far.

    So, in order to do it again, you'd need shareholders willing to come up with a billion dollars to buy a team, just for the fun of it.  That's an awfully big charity drive for an entertainment product - a million people willing to chip in a thousand dollars.  That's on the order of the individual fundraising for both presidential candidates in 2012.  

    •  It could be done. (0+ / 0-)
      So, in order to do it again, you'd need shareholders willing to come up with a billion dollars to buy a team, just for the fun of it.  That's an awfully big charity drive for an entertainment product - a million people willing to chip in a thousand dollars.  That's on the order of the individual fundraising for both presidential candidates in 2012.
      With a limit of 32 owners and one required to own 30%, that's still only about 25M per minority owner.  There are quite a few people with that kind of means.  Tying their entire net worth to be subsidiary to someone else requires a special mentality, though.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:59:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about baseball? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is there any clause in the charter of Major League Baseball that prevents the community-ownership model from being adopted by a franchise within MLB?

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

  •  This is what I've been promoting for ages (0+ / 0-)

    But I haven't stopped at sports teams. EVERY business over 15 employees needs to be nationalized, run by community-based boards that answer more to the needs of the community than the profit/loss sheet. This is a no-brainer, and must be accomplished along with the elimination of capitalism and the republican party.

    But back to sports ownership: All it will take is an executive order to demand that all sports owners who depend on community infrastructure (which is ALL of 'em) MUST come up with a plan of action, answered only to Eric Holder and a special department set up for this purpose, that migrates ownership from private individuals to that of community-based boards, and to ensure that, by league charter, the ownership, management, and staff postiions MUST reflect the racial and ethnic percentage of the players.

    In short, if the NBA is 80% African American, than 80% MUST be African American, or get penalized, if not outright taken over by a consortium overseen by the department established by the Executive Order.

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