With the way the current economy is going, the prevalence of web 2.0 technologies, and fantasy football under way, it’s got me thinking: isn’t it time professional sports joined the bandwagon? I’m not talking about just making a Facebook or Twitter page (get on it Eagles), I’m talking about going all out and truly harnessing the power of the community to optimize every aspect of a team’s operation. Yes, I’m saying crowdsource a team’s front office.
Think about it, there are many excellent ways teams can leverage their fan base. First and foremost, teams can do a much more thorough and comprehensive job of scouting new players. If each team sets up a wiki, fans can upload their own scouting reports on potential draft picks and free agents. It would also be a great marketing asset. Who better to tell team officials what fans want than the fans themselves? What promotions should the team give out during the holidays? Should the team have theme nights? Let the fans decide. You can even involve fans in personnel and operations decisions. Let fans choose whether they want to fork over a couple of million for a star free agent or build a new training facility. It’s a great move for team owners. This way fans can’t complain when their team loses or they have to pay more for tickets because they, not Isaiah Thomas, approved of the decision.
Of course, there are obvious problems with opening things up too much. Small market teams run the risk of having their larger rivals overrunning their voting and feedback systems and screw up their decisions. Teams should probably limit participation to a core group of fans like season ticket holders. I’m also not saying teams should give up professional staff completely. You’ll still need professionals to verify scouting reports, negotiate deals, and veto bad decisions if necessary.
However, it would work great in an advisory or supplemental role. I know the fans would love it. How many times have you played Dynasty Mode in a video game and thought to yourself, “I could do so much better if I was in charge of the (insert team)?” Plus with the way some professional franchises are doing lately (Lions, Clippers come to mind) I don’t think trying something different would hurt them anymore than the current way of doing things. Now if only someone out there was crazy and daring enough to try this. Mark Cuban, get on it.