Owning a sports team can cost millions of dollars each year. While the costs are high, the payoff can be great as well. Properly running a sports franchise can help to guarantee a steady revenue stream and a good return on your investment. People do not come to watch games to see the owner, but they also like to know that a competent person is behind the scenes, making sure that the team is successful.
Buy a team. Though semi-professional and professional sports teams exist throughout the world, they only come up for sale every so often. Some leagues require that all other owners of teams in the sport approve any new owners. In order to become an owner, you will have to show the other owners why your business model will work to keep a team successful financially.
Hire great staff members. You may be a big sports fan who loves watching games. In all likelihood, though, you are not an expert in making player acquisitions. Hire a general manager who can handle finding the right players. You will also want to hire a marketing team to promote the franchise. Any signings, trades or marketing campaigns will be approved by you. You will shape the team by setting a yearly budget and approving big signings or firings. Since sometimes players do not play well for a team, cutting or trading the player will force the franchise to pay the remainder of the player's contract. The owner needs to decide if this is acceptable.
Provide a good product. A successful business model when running a sports franchise at least partially relies on a successful team that attracts a fan base. Some teams have history that keeps fans coming to watch games. Overall, though, a successful team will usually have one of the highest attendances, viewerships, and will sell the most merchandise. Ensuring your team wins a lot of games is important when running a franchise. Often times getting the best players can be expensive. Spending money will make money in the end. The Yankees' payroll was over $200 million in 2010, but the team is also valued at greater than $1 billion, according to ESPN and Forbes.
Market to the fans. Hold fan appreciation days, give away prizes when fans come to games, host player autograph sessions and provide tours of the stadium. Fans are the customer. A happy fan means another person to buy a ticket or buy a piece of merchandise. Keeping fans happy is essential. Part of doing this is also showing that your team is part of the community. Though you may own the team, fans consider the team a piece of the city. Requiring players to participate in some sort of volunteer work and contributing to help build the community will make fans feel like your team is worth investing in.
Maintain a good relationship with the media. An owner is normally behind the scenes and is not heard from often. This can be good, since the owner is not an expert with everything related to the team. It can also allow the media to blame any problems with the team on the management. Being open about the goals for the future will allow fans to know you, as the owner, better.
- stadium in cincinnati image by Ritu Jethani from Fotolia.com