Daily News Alexander: What can your favorite team’s ownership do better?

LGKbot

They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Messages
130,278
What, as a fan, do you want to see from the owner(s) of your favorite team(s)?

Is it enough to have a decent hot dog, a reasonably priced seat with good sightlines, a stadium or venue that’s relatively easy to get into and out of? Is concessions variety important to you? What about the in-game experience? Do you want a high-energy atmosphere, or would you prefer that the speakers be turned down a bit – even if it’s only once in a while – so you can hear yourself think or actually, you know, talk to the person next to you without having to scream?

Or is it all about winning and nothing else? Do you judge an owner by the money he/she spends on the team, and patience with and commitment to coaches and or managers? Or is there such a thing as too much patience? Do you want your owner to be involved, or does it matter if they’re hands-off or absentee owners who don’t sweat the details? (And, in some cases, might you prefer your owner to just keep writing checks and otherwise stay away?)

We have a pretty varied menagerie of ownership in SoCal. It’s not hard to figure out which ones are successful by classic standards; in most cases, you can look at the won-loss record for hints. But do the standards go deeper than the standings or playoff results?

I’ve got my ideas, as you might suspect. But I want to hear from you, the fans, and not just those who, um, are loyal to a particular team but can’t stand the owner. (Angels fans, I think we all know where Arte Moreno winds up on this list.) What makes the good ones stand out? What do they do to earn your loyalty? What can they do better?

As you might have already suspected from the way this column began, yes, I am trolling for responses. The more you cheer, or vent, the more additional columns come out of this concept. I’m only a little bit shameless.

Here are my thoughts, ranked by order of (my perceived) ownership quality:

1. Dodgers (Guggenheim ownership group, led by Mark Walter): Since closing their purchase from Frank McCourt on May 1, 2012, the Guggenheim Dodgers have won 11 division titles in 12 seasons and have a .602 regular-season winning percentage, along with one World Series title in 2020 – and the organizational feeling is that one is not enough, which fans should appreciate. And they’ve plunged lots of money into rejuvenating Dodger Stadium. (But I do wish they’d turn those speakers down once in a while.)

2. Clippers (Steve Ballmer): Ballmer, too, fares well in comparison with the previous ownership (i.e., the Donald Sterling reign of error). On-court success has been mixed and is elusive in the postseason largely because of injuries, primarily to Kawhi Leonard. But the Clippers have a stable, professional front office and what should be a transformative new home, the Intuit Dome, beginning next season.

3. Rams (Stan Kroenke): They’ve made the playoffs five of the last seven seasons and have stability, with Sean McVay on the sideline, Les Snead making the calls in the front office – including draft successes that are a testament to scouting methods that sometimes go against the NFL grain – and Kevin Demoff overseeing things. And SoFi Stadium has raised the standards for NFL stadia, although game day parking can still be a mess.

4. LAFC: (Multiple-person ownership structure including Magic Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra and wife Mia Hamm and Will Ferrell, among many others, with Bennett Rosenthal currently listed as lead managing owner): Success on the field, a gem of a facility in BMO Stadium, organizational stability and a bond with its supporters – considering that well before this team had any players, management listened to potential fans’ concerns and suggestions. Who else does that?

5. Ducks (Henry and Susan Samueli): They’re coming out of a rebuild, but this is a stable franchise with a loyal fan base, and Honda Center is 31 years old but still a first-class building. The OCVIBE development that will surround it, currently under construction, is essentially Anaheim’s answer to L.A. Live.

6. Chargers (Dean Spanos): Their tenancy in SoFi Stadium has quieted the narrative that accompanied them here in 2017 – “Who asked for you?” – and hiring Jim Harbaugh created their biggest splash since the move. Spanos was (and probably still is) hated in San Diego but has upgraded to meh in Los Angeles.

7. Lakers (Jeanie Buss): The 2020 bubble championship changed the narrative for a bit, but the feeling remains that Buss and her advisors aren’t really living up to the standards of Laker Exceptionalism. The circumstances around the firing of Darvin Ham led to a good amount of “do they know what they’re doing?” talk among a devoted but increasingly frustrated fan base. Can’t blame them.

8. Angel City Football Club (Multi-person ownership group, currently led by investor-owners Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman, Natalie Portman and Alexis Ohanian and featuring plenty of celebrity involvement): The second-year franchise is worth $180 million, the highest of the 14 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League and evidence that the league waited way too long to expand to L.A. – but there’s talk about bringing in a new majority investor to be controlling owner amid suggestions that those in charge are overspending. Potentially messy stuff, but the organization has done a lot right with its initiatives in the surrounding community.

9. Kings (Phil Anschutz and Ed Roski): Do we know for sure that primary owner Anschutz, whose worth according to Forbes magazine was recently estimated at $15.4 billion, really cares about the performance of the team he and Roski purchased in 1995? Especially now, in light of a third straight first-round elimination, I’d think Kings fans would want some kind of indication the owner is at least paying attention to what GM Rob Blake, president Luc Robitaille and CEO Dan Beckerman are doing with his hockey team.

10. Galaxy (also Anschutz): You can make the case that Anschutz, an early and large investor in Major League Soccer, helped keep that league alive. (That’s why his name is on the MLS Cup.) He once owned six MLS teams but now his ownership is limited to the Galaxy, which is a contender again after several years on the outskirts. Again, better if he’s paying attention or not?

Related Articles​


11. Sparks
(Eric Holoman, CEO and governor): They’ve always had a loyal fan base, though the on-court product in recent seasons has affected attendance. Now, with women’s sports in general and basketball in particular having a transcendent moment, are the Sparks prepared to capitalize?

12. Angels (Arte Moreno): Remember when Arte was the people’s choice, the Guy Who Lowered Beer Prices? Yeah, I know. That was more than two decades ago. The issue here is that he’s too involved, too impetuous, and should hire a president of baseball operations to talk him down from the ledge when needed.

Incomplete, Rugby FC Los Angeles (Pete Sickle, CEO and co-founder): Did you know SoCal had another Major League Rugby team? Neither did I until a couple of weeks ago, which suggests getting the word out was a lower priority than it should have been. The first franchise won a league title in 2021 and was terminated after 2022. This one is relocated from Atlanta, plays in Carson and has a 1-6-1 record midway through the season. If you attend these games, email me and let me know what the crowds and enthusiasm level are like.

jalexander@scng.com

Continue reading...
 
Back
Top Bottom