[Ed. – Well, sure, a city owning a sports team is just like stockholders owning Exxon-Mobil.]
Oprah…may or may not be lining up with a few other rich people to make the Clippers hers, at least partially so.
Newt Gingrich, erstwhile Republican presidential candidate but lifelong Ideas Man, has a better solution. He wants to sell the Clippers to the public…
This thought is hardly new or unique to Newt, though it’s mostly bandied about by the type of lefty populists that don’t usually agree on much with former Republican House Speakers and presidential candidates. But it’s a good idea! As Gingrich noted, fans own the Green Bay Packers. And fans own F.C. Barcelona, one of the most valuable soccer clubs in the world. This is a model that’s been tried, and it’s one we already use in almost every other industry other than sports.
“There’s no obvious reason why public ownership – either public ownership by a community, or public ownership by a group of fans – there’s no reason why that shouldn’t work, and the reason for that is basically that we have public corporations all the time run by stockholders,” Victor Matheson, a sports economist at College of the Holy Cross, said. “And that’s the vast majority of companies in the United States, right? They’re not privately-held companies run by one iron-fisted owner. It’s actually fairly unusual that you have an entire industry dominated only by privately-held corporations like this.”
The fact that it would work isn’t the best argument for public ownership. Rather, it’s that public ownership would be better for fans — and the public.