If I were to ever own a professional sports franchise, I would model myself after Mark Cuban; a true fan that fell into a ton of money and was able to buy a team. Cuban makes a point to sit in the nosebleeds from time to time, park in the farthest stadium lot and take in a game as an actual paying fan. I love that he does this; it ensures that he is putting forward the best possible product.
I do not understand any aspect of ownership that does not include the thoughts and experiences of its fans in all situations. Thankfully this year the Browns were able to bring in an owner who truly wants to see a successful team in Cleveland. He’s not just buying a team because that’s what someone at his financial level does. He wants to build a winner and be a part of something special.
Following last night’s Marlins/Jays trade, it made me weep for their fan base. It shows how out of touch the ownership is with them. Rather than market its biggest stars and have them build relationships with their fans, they shipped them off. Fan support is a necessity to make a profit as an owner.
For years, we as Cleveland sports fans we have had to endure the Lerner’s and the Dolan’s doing as little as possible to build a winner. Never making a true financial obligation to a winner, rather doing just enough to not lose too much money, while we have seen franchises around us with owners doing whatever it takes to win. Many times those other franchises have made decisions that haven’t worked out, but the pure aggressiveness and desire to win was something that I wanted to see in our ownerships.
While I have compassion for the Florida Marlins fan base, I know how it feels to have zero faith that the ownership has my best interest in mind. I am thrilled that we finally have an owner who appears to care and would do anything to see a Gilbert/Haslam joint venture to buy out the Dolans.
While the jury is still out on Jimmy Haslam, I find it hard to believe that he will be as out of touch with his fans base as a Randy Lerner or Jeffrey Loria.