The Radical Case for Cities Buying Sports Teams, Not Sports Stadiums

I’ve always thought of this as an interesting idea. I’m not crazy about the idea of government owning the team, but a non-profit ownership system would certainly be a boon for the fan communities.

Okay, so there is one small holdup with the public owning sports teams in the U.S., which is that the major pro sports leagues here have dedicated themselves to blocking it at every turn. McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc once tried to give the Padres to the city of San Diego as a charitable donation, but was overruled by MLB; a similar league edict later prevented the city of Pittsburgh from getting a share of the Pirates in exchange for a $20 million “loan” that was never repaid. The NFL was so freaked by the mere prospect of anyone trying to replicate the Packers that it wrote a ban on non-profit ownership into its league constitution. Congress considered a bill to pull leagues’ antitrust exemption for TV rights if they barred community ownership, but like just about all Congressional attempts to reign in sports leagues, it’s gone nowhere.

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