Friday, February 1, 2013

Do Any Franchises Have Loyalty These Days?

Article written by Dave Thomas - Guest Poster
There was a day and age when both athletes and owners had loyalty to their respective cities. Whether or not that exists these days is definitely up for debate.

One need only look at recent moves and proposed moves in the last few decades to see that many owners follow the money trail.

When you sit down to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, keep in mind that Baltimore Ravens came about due to the late Art Modell packing up his office and team in Cleveland, deciding to locate in the city best known for crab cakes, an aquarium, and the Orioles. While Cleveland did get its “Browns” back, the Ravens have proven to be the more successful franchise of the two over the last decade.

Speaking of Baltimore, remember when the Colts and their Mayflower moving truck bolted for Indianapolis in the middle of the night back in 1984? Die-hard Colts fans still seethe over the thought of the Irsay family heading for the midwest with their beloved horseshoe helmets.

Over in the NHL, moves aplenty have been the story in recent decades, including Hartford (Whalers) moving to Carolina, Quebec (Nordiques) moving to Colorado, Winnipeg (Jets) moving to Phoenix and the Atlanta (Thrashers) moving to Winnipeg among others.

While MLB has been relatively quiet in recent decades, the NBA has been doing some shuffling here and there, with the Sacramento Kings apparently the latest to be looking to packing up their office furniture, team personnel, and basketball for the Pacific Northwest.

Multiple reports in late January noted that the Maloof brothers (owners of the Kings) had agreed in principle to sell and relocate the franchise to Seattle, which for those who were under a rock in the last decade, saw its beloved Sonics end up in Oklahoma City (Thunder).

The proposed deal, which involves Seattle investor Chris Hansen, would involve the aforementioned acquiring 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof brothers (current majority owners) for a cool $340 million.

But before you start looking for Sonics merchandise and season tickets, take note that Sacramento officials are still trying to put together an investment team at the 25th hour to purchase the Kings, construct a new arena in the city, and keep basketball in NoCal. If that happens, word is Hansen may end up suing Sacramento, arguing the city got in his way of acquiring the franchise. Bottom line, don’t be surprised if this one ends up in a legal court and not on a basketball one.

So, as you sit down on any given day or night to watch a professional sporting event, know that there is always a chance (small or large) that the team you are watching could one day pack its bags for another destination.

Think it can’t happen? 

Just ask the folks in Quebec City, Atlanta, Winnipeg, Cleveland, Baltimore, Hartford.....

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business topics, including how to save on used office furniture.

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