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What if we really, really owned this team?

I was just wondering, what do you think would happen if the Saskatchewan Roughriders became a real, I mean a really real, public corporation? Let's admit it folks, this Saskatchewan franchise isn't really publicly owned at all, it's sorta pseudo-publ

I was just wondering, what do you think would happen if the Saskatchewan Roughriders became a real, I mean a really real, public corporation?

Let's admit it folks, this Saskatchewan franchise isn't really publicly owned at all, it's sorta pseudo-publicly owned. In fact, it's operated by a tight group of mostly Regina-based business people, most of whom have lots of money themselves, with a few token friends and vetted seat warmers thrown in to make it look better.

And you know, I'm like a lot of other provincial residents who don't find a lot of fault in that setup. It has been a business model that has worked pretty well and rather efficiently, I might say, over the past 100 years or so with only minor modifications to the general overall structure.

OK, there has been the sale of those phony shares a few years ago that allowed the purchaser a few additional perks, but we all know those weren't really real shares now, were they?

This group of pseudo owners have pandered to the great unwashed fans by conducting an annual general meeting to reveal the latest financial statements to satisfy the accountability standards we have kind of established over the years. They release the figures and then tell those in attendance who has been elected to the board of directors in their quiet little enclave. The president elect is exactly who we have been told would be the president elect.

And again, while I might sound a bit critical here, I'm really not. After all, as noted, I and others, find this business model is quite effective, if not completely kosher on the pure democratic side of things.

I hearken back to the era when some of these directors, who were voted in through the phantom method, stepped up and literally and figuratively saved the day and the franchise. They worked their tails off, when they didn't have to, to make the Roughriders live to see another day and another paycheque.

You don't dismiss that business model or take this mode of governance lightly. They may be rich and somewhat privileged people in the simple Saskatchewan terminology, but they bled green and were willing to put their time, talent, and lots of money on the line to prove it.

But now, here we are in 2010, with an opportunity for the province to enter the major leagues in term of sports facilities with a possible $450 million stadium to build and a championship calibre CFL team to maintain.

This might be beyond the scope of our quiet little coven of Roughrider executives who pass the torch of leadership on to one another through assumed expectations.

From this corner, I would say let them continue to lead us. They know what they're doing, but now, let's open this thing up. Let the Roughriders become a truly public franchise. Let's sell real shares. No individual or corporation can own more than 10 per cent. But sponsorship of game days is one thing, how about a few million in investment dollars? Let the Roughriders invest in 40 or 50 per cent of the new stadium they will undoubtedly call home. Let's open up the investment potential. There are companies and people outside of Regina (and a few from Saskatoon) who have the wherewithal and probably the desire to become true owners, just like we can be shareholders and "true" owners of Bell Canada or TD Canada Trust or Bombardier.

By adding this value to the Roughriders, we'd be giving them a more stable financial future while allowing them to invest in their future.

Governance and management could remain tight knit, but so is it in our other public companies. There are no castle revolts in the business world unless the CEO is a shyster. Annual general meetings at corporate levels are gripe sessions anyway and some 'Rider AGMs in the past have been just that, especially after a losing campaign. So what's different?

Instead of griping about how that plant in China isn't churning out enough widgets, the public shareholders of the Roughriders can whine about how the tailback isn't churning out enough yards on second down.

We could also demand some federal money for this stadium. Winnipeg is getting some for their new edifice, under the guise of Commonwealth Games. They've already received millions and millions for the new Asper family museum.

The feds didn't assist with any funds for the new RCMP Museum and administration centre when it was built a few years ago in Regina, so now is a good time for them to make amends for that oversight.

A few federal dollars, a kick start from the province and then the rest would be up to us the shareholders of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Not just your ordinary fans, but fans with a true vested interest in the team! OK, I know how the open mouth radio shows would sound after a loss at home, but hey, that's the price you pay for a fan who really, really cares and who is a really, really, real shareholder of a team that really, really matters in our little professional sporting world.

Anyone willing to buy the Toronto Argonauts please contact and we'll see if we can arrange a deal with this week's owner.

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