Rumors of who is bidding to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers are swirling around the internet. Will it be Oprah? Or Magic Johnson? Frankie Muniz?
Well the Internet would like to jump in there and assert its buying power too. Several crowd-funding campaigns have popped up on the site Indiegogo. At least three have the goal of taking the Clippers out of the hands of racist owner Donald Sterling.
Yesterday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered on his promise for swift action. Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, and fined $2.5 million. Over the weekend 15 minutes of disturbing audio were released to TMZ and Deadspin. In the tape, allegedly of Sterling talking to woman friend V. Stiviano, he makes deplorable, racist comments. He also chastises Stiviano for posting Instagram photos of herself posing with African-Americans.
Banning Sterling for life does not mean the man won’t make money from the team, and therefore the next step is to force a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. Silver will need to go to the NBA board of governors, and get 75 percent support from other owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
This hasn’t happened yet, but that has not stopped folks from making a play to purchase.
One of those non-celebrity folks is Rob Wilson. On his Indiegogo page he wrote:
“Now that he has been banned for life by the NBA, and the Commissioner is looking to force a sale of the team, the opportunity has suddenly presented itself for all of you to own a piece of the team you care so much about.
- The world is much different than it was in 1981 when Mr. Sterling purchased the team.
- Major sports teams no longer need to be in the hands of a few wealthy individuals whose values are detached from those of its fans.
- Technology has leveled the playing field in many industries. Now, let’s use technology to change the ownership suite.”
If you support the campaign, Wilson is promising that it won’t just be a “feel good” purchase. Supporters will have voting and other rights the way you would as a shareholder of a company.
“This is an opportunity put the LA Clippers in the hands of its fans, supporters and others who will not discriminate against others,” the Indiegogo campaign site says. Wilson also sees this as an “Internet-as-great-equalizer” opportunity.
“I strongly believe that technology has leveled the playing field for the average individual,” Wilson told Mashable. “If you want to be a writer, you don’t need to wait for permission from the New York Times to do so; go start a blog. If you want to be a TV star, create a show on YouTube. We don’t need permission to do something great anymore, and why shouldn’t owning a sports team be one of those things?”
Their funding goal is $500 million, or as Wilson wrote: “only requires 1M(illion) people to contribute $500.” The monetary goal may be short of what is required to be a bidder. “Several groups with desire to purchase Clippers are already stepping forward, with a bidding war expected to exceed $1 billion for Clippers,” tweeted Yahoo sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski.
Though other crowd-funded campaigns have successfully brought back “Veronica Mars,” funded documentaries about Aaron Swartz, created cheap 3-D printers, and even jump-started virtual reality, this one hasn’t taken off quite yet. As of Wednesday evening, the campaign had only raised $276. Never fear, though, if the goal is not reached in 59 days, all contributors’ funds will be returned.