Monday, December 12, 2011

Other people’s money and their Kansas City Chiefs

Ink will spill in mass quantities over this departure of the Kansas City Chiefs’ latest field marshal. Playoff hopes dashed with a swarm of Jets. The current episode seems a red flag, and fans may consider refashioning their Official NFL apparel into white flags with some bleach. We surrender. Truce time. Stop seeing red. Time to let go.

Professional sports teams in Kansas City cannot sustain their business. Current trends in our life here cannot withstand continued revenue hemorrhaging to out-of-town bank accounts and stock portfolios. You may think we have a great deal invested in this franchise, and the one across the parking lot. You may believe that professional sports teams place Kansas City on the map. And you may be re-considering those season tickets in light of your family balance sheet, for disposable income as a phrase is becoming a glaringly irrelevant term for you.

But you may be a fan: a die-hard one.

Consider that everything’s for sale and the Chiefs front office has probably had this tough discussion long before my irrelevant words here that may have you seeing red. You see, this franchise is a business, and while you may feel emotionally like a stakeholder, you’re not a stockholder. There are no stocks to own. This is a privately owned, supposed $1 billion in worth, business, ranked 20th or so in the NFL portfolio, price-tag wise.

What creeps, justifiably so, into this discussion is the emotional qualitative "12th Person" in the stands and in front of the screen; you who watch them (I rather enjoy listening to Len Dawson on the radio). That emotional stock is unquantifiable on the horizontal surface of the Chiefs’ boardroom conference table. In the end, amid wringing of hands, the emotional bit remains irrelevant.

Winning in business outweighs winning upon the playing field, for this is not child’s play. Professional football (and baseball) is very big business. Irrespective of game records, The Chiefs are a failing business. The turbulence in leadership reminds me of the Kansas City Missouri School District; not a franchise, not a business per se, but leadership storms indicate plummeting market value…Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk.

I believe the Kansas City Chiefs constitute a misplaced modifier to Kansas City. I’m reminded of the film, “Other People’s Money” (1991), based on the play by Jerry Sterner, with Danny DeVito as Lawrence Garfield (Larry the Liquidator)…and Larry’s excellent speech about cable, buggy whips, hard decisions, and funerals...great writing, Jerry...

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