A little SAT analogy throwback for you. Raleigh : MLS :: Green Bay : NFL. Yeah, it sounds crazy comparing one of the most successful franchises in American sports history to Raleigh and North Carolina FC, but hear me out. Green Bay’s population sits at just over 100,000, which makes it the smallest city to have a major sports franchise in the US. Yet, the team boasts one of the most loyal fan bases in the world – the waiting list for season tickets is over 70 years.
How does this happen? A brilliant decision made by Green Bay owners in 1950. The Packers were in need of a couple bucks, so they decided to issue stock that could be purchased by the general public. You buy a share, get a slip of paper that says you’re an owner and…. BOOM, fan base. Just imagine if North Carolina FC used this idea to expand the already passionate supporters of the club.
I mean, who doesn’t want to say they are part owner of a major sports franchise? Kids and grown ups would be asking for shares of stock to show off to friends and family. Heck, I’d be right there with them asking my fiancé to buy me some.
Yeah, it’s probably one of the worst stock purchases you can make as it is essentially just giving the team money with no return, but its has intangible benefits. It would unite fans young and old, and bring a sense of community to the city. People are able to say, “Yeah, I funded that team.” Steve Malik and the ownership group can issue stock once a year for the first couple of seasons for about $50. Then everything gets settled in here in Raleigh, push it out to every 5 years or so to keep demand up.
To make North Carolina FC stock even more intriguing, have an annual shareholders meeting at the stadium Topics discussed at the meeting would cover the latest team news, direction of the franchise, and goals moving forward. Show the shareholders how their money is being put to use, make them feel important.
This idea would catch fire in Raleigh.