May 10, 2013

Professional Franchise League System

One way to get a professional league for top players going in the U.S. would be a franchise system. How would it work? Here's a rough outline - feel free to make changes.

It would start in a populated region, with a committed Commissioner getting it started. Perhaps eight league owners would be solicited, each representing a different club or region, with each owner paying perhaps a $5000 franchise fee. What would be the owner's incentive? That owner would have perpetual rights to that franchise. If the league were to take off, they could become very rich.

Each team would have three players minimum, with team matches best of nine. If there were eight teams in the league, with each playing the other team twice, there would be 14 team matches for each team, half played at home, half played on the other teams home clubs.

Income would be generated by franchise fees, ticket sales, refreshment sales, and sponsors. The franchise fees and 20% of ticket sales would go to a Commissioner and league expenses.

The Commissioner would be in charge of running and promoting the league. The Commissioner would also have complete authority over the league for the first two years, after which the owners would take over and have hiring and firing power over the Commissioner. The income that does not go to the Commissioner would be split 50-50 between the owners and the players. During the first two years, the owners could fire the Commissioner with a 3/4 vote; afterwards, it would only require a 2/3 vote.

The Commissioner and Owners would work closely together to promote the league with the goal to bring in spectators by developing a fan base for each team, both from existing club players and others. They would work together in promoting the league and local team in various news media. Owners would look to bring in sponsors for their team. The Commissioner would look to bring in League sponsors, with money from that split 50-50 between the Commissioner and the Teams, with the Teams splitting all sponsors money 50-50 with the players.

To play on a team, players would need to fulfill a minimum level, such as a 2200 rating within the past two years, though the Commissioner may waive this in extenuating circumstances. Players may not make much money the first year, but by competing that first year they would have priority in making future teams, in particular if they were a #1 player on their team.

Umpires and referees would be needed. At the start, they would be solicited as volunteers. As the league's finances improve, they would be paid, with the goal to have professional officials. Those who volunteered at the start would have priority.

Team owners would split income from ticket sales 60-40 with the visiting team. Refreshment sales and sponsors would be split 50-50 with the home team's players. The breakdown on pay to the players could be divided three ways among three players, or proportional if there were more than three players taking turns. Owners may wish to pay extra for "star" players. Unless waived by the Commissioner, all players must live within 50 miles of their team's home club or region. All players must be approved by the Commissioner.

Anyone interested? Want to be a Commissioner, Owner, or Player? Then take charge and make it happen!

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