Let's buy a football team

by Mary Ann McGivern

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I’m not a football fan. It’s not the aspect of violence. I grew up with five brothers and I like the game. My mother and sibs root for the Bears, the Packers and one for the Vikings when Brett Favre played there. (He was rooting for the old guy.)

I, however, am stuck with the Rams and the knowledge that we city taxpayers are still paying the two billion dollars in principal and interest that it cost to build our stadium. Now, if we don’t spend a quarter of a billion or so more, the Rams will have the right to leave St. Louis because we will have failed in our agreement to maintain the stadium in the top 25% of stadiums.

St. Louis is a poor city. We could be spending that stadium money on public safety, education, health care, housing, roads. I could go on and make an ethical case for care of the poor..

Instead, I will turn my gaze in this essay and look with longing at Green Bay. They own their football team.

What I want is for Congress to allow the same for the rest of us. All we need is to be allowed to bid for the team. Then fans could create a pool of hundred dollar shares and see if we could raise enough money to outbid the billionaires.

The obvious benefit is that the team would stay put. Less obvious is the potential for community building. Shareholders could vote on whether to build more luxury boxes, spend more for star players or cut ticket prices. We could fire management or grant bonuses. Yes, I would find a hundred dollars to buy a share. It would be great fun to be an owner with 400,000 of my neighbors. It’s not too often when the right economic solution would give all the participants good entertainment for their money – and give them practice in decision-making for the common good.

As things stand, I’m rooting for the NFL lockout to continue.

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