Update: as noted in the comments and elsewhere, it is currently in violation of NFL rules for a team to be shareholder-owned. However, this could be changing. A congressman from Buffalo is petitioning the head of the league to get it changed!
As frequent readers of this blog might know, I grew up in Buffalo. And one of the reasons I like Buffalo is the Buffalo Bills. Yes, they never fail to disappoint, but it’s my team and you’ve got to have city pride. With that said, it appears that the Bills might leave Buffalo in the near future. Ralph Wilson has stated that once he dies the team will go up for sale with the likely ending being that it will move to Toronto.
I don’t want the Bills to leave. However, it is difficult for a small-market city to sustain an NFL team. But there is a possible solution. Taking a page from Green Bay’s shareholder approach and the British MyFootballClub’s mass-ownership, one possibility is to sell the team to its fans. This would mean the fans own the team, but also, they get to vote on draft picks, starting lineups, and so forth.
A friend of mine, Joe Brownstein (a science journalist) and I have begun a website The People’s Bills, devoted to exploring this issue. While we think the Bills should be owned by the fans, there are many details that need to be worked out (how to vote, what can be voted on, how many shares each person can buy, and so forth). So, we need your help. If you have any ideas, please read the site’s blog, and contact us as well. Thanks for your help!