Sign in / Join

Public ownership of the Twins?

From State House Rep Phyllis Kahn's opinion piece in the Star-Tribune:

Instead of wondering "How or where do we build a stadium?" we should first ask, "How do we keep the Twins here?"

The answer lies in community ownership of the team (a version of the Green Bay Packers model). Two bills (HF 1925 and SF 1769) promoting this concept have passed through committees and are sitting on the respective House and Senate floors.

The House bill alone has 34 authors, a bipartisan group from every region of the state. Many of these coauthors have serious concerns about investing public dollars in a private business operating in the dysfunctional economic environment afflicting Major League Baseball.

Without going into the section-by-section description of the proposal, the community ownership legislation has the following characteristics:

• A range of investment possibilities from a 25 percent private managing partner, responsible for all team operations, expenses and interaction with Major League Baseball.

• A class of major investors who would own stakes in 1 percent to 5 percent increments (akin to the board of directors of a corporation).

• Class B souvenir stock at $100 a certificate. This final class would only get to vote on the relocation of the team.

The bylaws of the corporation would require a supermajority vote on the sale or relocation. We would assume that someone like the Pohlad family would be managing partner, the big beneficiaries like tourism interests would fill out the second class, and graduation presents and the like would be a perfect fit for the Class B stocks.

Interesting. The value of a team rises if the public is willing to pay enough to gain control over relocation - i.e., by more than the net return to the current owner from relocation threats. If this difference is large enough, the current owner would be willing to sell, and the relocation issue would disappear. The concept does not solve the entry issue however, so folks who want a team in Portland and DC might not be fond of the idea.