Can a Fan-controlled Sports Franchise Find Success?
There is no denying the impact fans have on professional sports. Without fans, the athletes and teams would not experience any level of financial success. It does seem fair that these fans, after years of supporting their respective sports teams both financially and emotionally, could have some degree of power in the decision-making process of these sports franchises.
But is a democratically-controlled team the answer?
If so, can this type of team really expect to see any level of success?
Project Fanchise Team is seeking to change the world of sports through an interesting concept that will allow fan voting to control the ENTIRE decision-making process for a professional Indoor Football League (IFL) team. This includes the hiring of a GM and head coach, determining which players will make the final roster, and even play-calling for games in real-time.
The concept sounds amazing, but it is also reasonable to question the future success or failure of an idea that is so radically different from the way professional sports teams are currently run.
As fans, we may not understand the amount of research and planning that team executives put in to the management of a sports franchise. There is an endless amount of data to consider, various rules to follow on the structure of a team, and pressure from those with the financial power to sway the decision-making process.
As if the management aspect of a sports franchise isn’t complicated enough, Project Fanchise expects the collaborative brains of the fans to outperform the brains of opposing head coaches through real-time play-calling. Is this really possible? Fans are known to analyze and comment on how they would have done something different in hindsight. The majority vote will ultimately make the decisions, but we’ve seen how often popular votes can lead to poor results through presidential candidacies decisions, all-star voting in sports and the annual NCAA basketball tournament being nearly impossible to predict.
While the collaborative brain power of many fans might be greater than a single head coach or GM in theory, it will be interesting to see performance results in practice.
Another interesting thought on the fan-controlled team concept, which may not receive as much attention during the formation process, is the impact of sports betting on the decision-making process by fans.
In general, professional sports leagues have certain controls in place to regulate gambling by those involved in the league. Realistically, it may not be possible to regulate the entire fan-base of a professional sports team.
Imagine a scenario in which the fan-controlled team is down by a touchdown in the final seconds of a game. Since certain fans will have more voting power than others, it could be very possible for a fan to vote to call a running play that would ultimately cause the team to lose but allow a fan to beat a betting line.
Sports betting already causes concerns amongst fans for fixed results. It would be rather unfortunate for the fans to suffer in a system led by fan decisions unless some form of accountability is also in place.
While I can spend hours discussing the level of success possible for a fan-controlled sports franchise, there is only one way to truly see how this will work out: join the fan base, follow @FANchise on Twitter and experience this new sports concept first hand!