We've written about the phenomenon of team buying, whereby consumers band together to negotiate good deals. A different kind of team buying is being initiated in the UK, where a large number of people will buy a sports team. MyFootballClub, which launched just two weeks ago, aims to buy a professional league football/soccer club. Football fans can currently register for free, but commit to paying GBP 35 as soon as 50,000 people have registered. This will create a purchase fund of GBP 1,375,000, plus GBP 375,000 for staffing and running MyFootballClub.
When registering, members vote for the team they'd like to buy. As soon as they've paid their membership fee, they can confirm their prior choice or pick another team. After a club has been purchased, a Board will be formed to help run it, containing existing supporters of the club, existing board members, new directors and a member of the MyFootballClub web team. The Board will consult MyFootballClub members on all major decisions. All members will be able to vote, and decisions will be made based on those votes. Which, theoretically, should create steadier management than most clubs have, where personal politics and clashing interests can get in the way of sound decision making. And, as MyFootballClub states: "Without having to rely on the wealth and goodwill of an individual owner, the club will benefit from the pooled resources, knowledge and enthusiasm of thousands of football fans worldwide."
Members will be able to vote on crucial matters such as team formation, tactics and substitutions. To keep members fully in the loop, the head coach and players will give regular video briefings, which will be available online, as well as reports from the training ground. Wisdom of the crowds will also be used to decide which players to buy or sell, and for how much. To ensure all members have equal rights, MyFootballClub limits ownership to one share per member.
Next up: crowd-funded baseball, hockey, basketball and (American) football teams? Or get creative and find another project that could benefit from crowd clout. Various revenue models are possible. If you're charging membership fees, be sure to follow MyFootballClub's lead and be very upfront about how much you're charging for coordination and maintenance. Considering more than 22,500 members signed up for MyFootballClub over the past two weeks, the crowds definitely seem game ;-)