While their plan cannot impact a college sport, the concept may be seriously appealing to many scarlet and gray clad Ohioans these days. Project Franchise is attempting to raise enough money from fans and advertisers to buy a minor-league sports franchise, and put every management decision – from what coach to hire to which beer to serve – up to a vote. It’s an experiment in crowdsourcing, specifically in the hands of disgruntled Monday-morning quarterbacks from around the world.
“We want to take fan involvement to the next level, to control the consumer experience, too,” says Grant Cohen, one of four college friends behind the project. Voting memberships (right now Project Franchise has thousands of members; the number should increase when the site fully launches in the fall) will likely start in the $5 to $10 range. The low price, they reason, will attract enough fans to interest sponsors, who will throw in the rest of the money needed to buy a team, which they plan to do by the end of the year.
I am certainly not advocating that Tressel and co. be replaced by hordes of torch-bearing Ohio State fans with some disposable cash. Can you imagine how many “delay of game” penalties we would get trying to pick a play on 3rd and 6?