Why Mark Cuban Should Own the Chicago Cubs
Over the years, each professional sport has had a run in with an owner that gets consumed by power. Jerry Jones (America’s Team – Dallas Cowboys) and the Steinbrenner family (We’ll buy your soul – New York Yankees) have been in the forefront of the controversial sports owners list for decades now. Since Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, the league has seen debacle after debacle (See also: Tom Landry gets fired after 20 consecutive winning seasons for Jimmy Johnson, getting drunk and leaking the fact he was replacing Johnson with Barry Switzer days before it happened, and signing NFL black sheep Terrell Owens and Adam “Pac man” Jones). Although the Yankees purchase now seems to be a genius move based on current value (investors led by Steinbrenner bought the team from CBS for $10 million), the Steinbrenner legacy has brought nothing but negative publicity to the MLB. Did you know that Steinbrenner was actually indicted on 14 criminal counts linked to Richard Nixon? (He was later pardoned by Ronald Reagan)
So what is the underlying factor that remains across all of the outspoken, pot-stirring, a-hole owners in professional sports?
People are willing to spend tons of money on things like merchandise, tickets and special cable networks because deep down they want to feel like they are a part of the train wreck.
Why do many people go to NASCAR events? If you tell me that a majority of NASCAR fans go to the events because they love cars I will call you an idiot. People go to NASCAR events because they know that if they keep going, the races will continue to exist and they will get to maintain the thrill that stems from the high speeds, on and off course fighting between drivers, and the obvious…car crashes.
What do Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner’s antics mean to each respective league? Millions of dollars in revenue growth annually, continued interest in the teams based on rivalries (everyone hates the Yankees) and the fact that every move each makes has been analyzed so thoroughly even non-sports media pays attention (Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson?). Each controversial event sets off a cyclical chain of events that, in the end, makes all people tied into their leagues a little wealthier each year.
After explaining everything great that stems from the most hated owners in professional sports, the conversation naturally must progress in the direction of Mark Cuban and the Chicago Cubs. The truth is that the Chicago Tribune and Sam Zell have hit the shitter and are being forced to “fire sale” one of the most beloved sports franchises in history. Mark Cuban is born from the same crazy, loud and ludicrous mold as Jerr-ay and George. He sits at courtside for Dallas Mavericks games (his team), yells at players and referees even though he has nothing to do with the actual game directly, and is hands down the most love/hate owner in the NBA. Like Jones and Steinbrenner, he gets the public watching, puts butts in the seats, and ultimately is an asset to the league. Although his actions may be highly criticized across NBA supporters and owners, staying in the spotlight is the definitive marketing tool because it keeps attention on the league. On the subject of money: can Mark Cuban afford the Chicago Cubs? Based on what I’ve seen (estimated worth and whatnot)…I would say yes. Financially, Cuban must be maintaining and growing operations as an owner. As of Summer 2008, the Dallas Mavericks round out a list of the 50 highest valued 50 professional sports franchises in the USA.
Controversy, however, lands Cuban on an unspoken black list in professional sports and is exactly why Cuban will not be purchasing the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately, the old and rich dudes that have no idea what is “hot in the streets” fail to understand that Cuban’s antics would benefit what all owners ultimately are concerned about: the bottom line. The 2/3 bidding approval through the crop of MLB owners would never pass if Cuban did indeed have the winning bid. In the end, the Chicago Cubs will still sell out games and sell tons of merchandise. Baseball fans, however, will continue to miss out on the breathe of fresh air they would receive with Mark Cuban at the helm.
“So when it came down to it, I did what I thought was the only smart thing to do. I asked for an extension. I knew that if they got the money they wanted for the team, well my bid was not going to be high enough anyway. If they didnt, or the other bidders couldnt come up with their money, they would come back to me.
I’m still waiting” (Mark Cuban/blog Maverick)