I love football. I hate the lockout. Here are a few silly ideas to connect the NFL to the fans and their communities. Organizational Leaders - should you consider the spirit of these kinds of changes in your business to make your products or services more fan/customer friendly?
1) Pay Teams for Wins - The Fan "win pool".
The NFL Owners and NFL Players Association are arguing over how to split $9,000,000,000.00 dollars of revenue. They are wrestling over which side gets the last 10%. I think they should create a pool of $1,000,000,000.00 and pay a share of the pool to the winners of the games. My fuzzy math shows that the winning team would get nearly $4,000,000.00 per regular season victory. They could then split the winner's pool between owners, coaches, and players. This is simple meritocracy; the games will be hotly contested given the bonus available each week. The games will be better - the fans will win.
2) Blow up the salary cap.
As a fan - I don't care about the salary cap. The salary cap is designed to protect the owners from each other. I want them to compete. A team should be able to spend freely on talent and talent development. I also want to see certain players stay with my team as long as possible. Let the owners pay to keep good leaders, solid citizens, players who contribute to the chemistry of the team, etc ... Let the owners decide how to invest in their brand. Fans want good players who are good people to stay with teams their entire careers and become part of the community. The salary cap is protecting owners from each other and hurting the fans. Get rid of the salary cap.
3) Pay Transfer Fees.
To protect the small market teams from becoming second class citizens - create a transfer fee system with free agency. So if my team - the Washington Redskins - has a hot shot player that is coveted by the league - there would be a negotiated transfer fee paid by the new team to the Redskins to purchase the players contract. This is the system used in the European Soccer Leagues. It allows teams to prosper when a players departs via free agency and does not penalize small target teams adept at finding and developing talented players. Teams will have the opportunity to development, buy, and sell talent for their organizations based upon their short and long term prospects. It provides opportunities for small market teams to proper if the possess excellent management.
4) Connect with the community during pre-season games.
The fans know pre-season games are expensive glorified practices. We love football so much we're willing to shell out full price for a sub-par product. Given our loyalty to the game - the teams should give us more off the field during the preseason games. Let us have a little fun and get closer to the players - get the players to take pictures and sign autographs for kids before, during, and after the games, set up the "NFL experience" carnival in the parking lots before the games, let families take pictures on the field after the game, take a few lessons from minor league baseball teams and engage people during timeouts. We all know it's not real football - so make it a fun experience. The pre-season is the perfect opportunity to connect with the fans.
5) Set a percentage of future growth aside for non-profits.
The NFL is projected to double in revenues over the next ten years from $9,000,000,000.00 to $18,000,000,000.00. I would like to see the teams com mitt to putting a set amount back into the community. At 1% of revenue - each team would contribute nearly $3,000,000.00 using today's revenue numbers. Create a non-profit pool and let the fans decide how the money is distributed in their communities. It would benefit the community and get more fans engaged in helping those less fortunate in their cities.
Rant Over - thank you for your indulgence.