The People’s Bills

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!

4 Responses to “The People’s Bills”

  1. CitySportsBuffalo January 28, 2008 at 8:41 pm Permalink

    Sam,

    I wish you the best of luck. I am huge fan of Buffalo AND the Bills and would contribute funds as a shareholder. However, I would like to point out one issue with the shareholder approach:

    “Green Bay is the only team with this form of ownership structure in the NFL; such ownership is technically in direct violation of league rules, which stipulate a limit of 32 owners of one team and one of those owners having a minimum 30% stake. However, the Packers corporation was grandfathered when the NFL’s current ownership policy was established, and are thus exempt.”

    Many of us would be curious to know how you hope to get around that significant detail. (Perhaps getting Washington involved ~ Anti-trust laws, etc.). You may want to consider checking out and recruiting assistance from stadiumwall.com – a site dedicated to real Buffalo Bills fans.

    Also, according to this website, there is a rumor going around just today that Tom Golisano is in talks to buy the Bills from Ralph Wilson – check it out!

    http://www.kffl.com/forums/showthread.php?t=223065

    Anyhow, good luck and Go Bills!

  2. Bill Sacco January 29, 2008 at 12:41 pm Permalink

    Good luck from all of us in the UK at ThePeoplesClub.com – ownership by committed fans is the future

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Football » The People’s Bills - January 28, 2008

    […] Sam Arbesman wrote a fantastic post today on “The Peopleâ??s Bills”Here’s ONLY a quick extractAs 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 itâ??s my team and youâ??ve got to have city pride. … […]

  2. NFL Rules, Number of Owners, and Golisano « The People’s Bills - January 28, 2008

    […] Rules, Number of Owners, and Golisano CitySportsBuffalo notes, in my other blog, the following great point: I wish you the best of luck. I am huge fan of Buffalo AND the Bills and would contribute funds as […]