SFU (Sports Fans Union)

Sportswriter David M. Carter is principal of the Sports Business Group and serves as the executive director of the USC Marshall Sports Business Institute has written.....Many believe the most powerful people in sports are the league commissioners, network executives, sports agents, or those controlling advertising and sponsorship dollars. But, in reality, it is you.

The fans possess absolute power. That’s right, it’s those standing shirtless in the snow, with freshly painted faces and the home team’s name scrawled across their chests, watching intently as their team drives for the winning score that are in charge. When and whether fans choose to wield their power is another story.

The sports business industry not only understands just how unbelievably and reliably tolerant fans are, but it also parlays their emotional attachment to sell related products and services. Think about it: Fans actually pay upwards of $100 to purchase a jersey in order to tell the world that they support (revere?) the team’s recently acquired $100 million ballplayer … often regardless of the player’s off-field problems.

So even if an anemic economy and high-priced tickets and concessions chase fans from the stadium to their couches, the sports industry remains able to profit from them given that the revenue linked to broadcast and cable TV is the lifeblood for many leagues and teams; the NFL alone generates about $4 billion a year from its broadcasts, and this amount is sure to increase.

Sports are, or at the very least should be, about the fans and their connection to their favorite players and hometown teams. This is also true of sports business, where anyone hoping to profit from sports must appreciate –- and then carefully lever –- the fact that fans live vicariously through their star athletes and beloved franchises. Some even die vicariously through their favorite teams as evidenced by the licensing of sports-themed caskets, which cost just a few hundred dollars more than their traditional "non-sports"counterparts. (Thanks Mr Carter!)

So why has no one said " Im tired of this strike/labor crap?" If you lived in my house and told me to get stuffed I would be angry."I pay the bills, I pay the rent, who the hell are you to tell me to get stuffed?" Wouldn't anyone? So what the heck is going on my friends?

Why are we letting the NFL prepare for a labor strike? Why are we allowing our national pasttime to hold us hostage when we pay the bills? I am tired of the millionaires fighting the billionaires. It is our sport. They are our teams. The owners manage our teams. The players play on our teams. Time to stand up and be counted.

So I am beginning the SFU Sports Fans Union. It is time for all of us to stand united and start throwing our weight around. We have the power...the money is an illusion of strength. We sign all the checks with our ratings, purchasing the tickets, the memorabelia, the shirts and everything else you can imagine. It is high time we took our sport back.

So what's next? It is time we all come together and develop a plan to inform them what we want. Its ours after all.

What do you want? I want to see instant replay in the last two minutes of a game. I want three instant replays per half, one can only be used in each half during the last two minutes.

I want concessions to become cheaper so that a family can afford a hotdog, coke and popcorn reasonably.

I want stadiums to have real names...not names with corporate sponsors. Can we leave somethings alone? Does everything have to make a profit? Candlestick is Candlestick Park no matter what corporate name you attach to it.

I want rookies coming in to only make a maximuim of ten million dollars a year for a minimuim of three years. Pick number one....3 years 30 million. Pick two in the draft gets 3 years at 29.5 million and so on to a minumuim of 3 years at $200,000 dollars. Thats more money per year than most of us will ever make in our lifetime.

I want to see every player who ever played in the NFL fully medically insured....for life. It is only fair.

So those are a couple of my ideas.....What do you want in your National Football League?

Lets talk some more about this and actually do something....Its time!



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