Why is it that, for the longest time, the National Football League refused to allow corporations to own one of their franchises?
It’s because the NFL understands perhaps better than any other league that a close relationship between ownership and fans/sponsors/corporate community/marketing partners/suppliers/agents/players/coaches/GMs/scouts/lenders/staff/local, state and federal politicians, police and regulatory bodies is incredibly important.
With every living beat of his or her heart, an owner in the house shows this group of stakeholders that s/he CARES.
It’s a bond that once broken is hard to repair.
When I owned the Sens, I made a point (for example) of being at gate 1 on opening night (Oct 8, 1992) in the modern era of the Ottawa Senators to welcome fans–Montreal Canadiens and Sens fans alike. I asked (with a wide smile) Montreal jersey-wearing fans, “to cheer for the Sens, just for tonight,” and most of them in a good-natured manner did just that, and the Sens won 5-3.
Of course, they went on to collect just 24 points and finish last whilst the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that season so, in a way, it all worked out.
More recently, I met a rabid German Sens fan at Canadian Tire Centre (who somehow recognized me despite the fact that he’d only seen pics of moi when I was in my 30s and I’m now closer to 70). He bought a copy of Don’t Back Down (my book about the founding of the Sens that I wrote for the 25th anniversary of the team’s rebirth, which has 4 themes–a) the rollicking story of how we got an NHL expansion franchise in 1990 at a time when Canada was plunging into a tough recession and about to lose two of its teams, Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets, the latter long since returned to its rightful home in Manitoba, b) the business of major league sports, c) real estate as a foundation for sports teams and d) my personal story. People seem to like it for some reason.
He follows me on Twitter and emails me at least 3 or 4 times a month with pics of himself at local German hockey matches. We’re friends now. And, as a result, he’s even more of a lifetime Sens fan now.
I also talked to a guy who is now in his 40s who remembered the early days of the franchise this way:
I don’t think I can tell you enough how much you changed my life when I was 15 years old so you can imagine how excited I was when the sign company I work for asked me to call you as my very first cold call after taking over from the last guy who was in charge here.
Anyway, I just got off the phone with my father (Jim McGill) who is coming in to see his son after my first week here and I just called him (the man with the beard in the enclosed newspaper article) and he went on for at least an hour talking about how amazing you were to us.
My father actually purchased (leased) a box (suite) and later shared one with Laurysen Kitchens for 10 years after you impressed him with how generous of a man you were to the 15-year-old version of me. Your box at the (Ottawa) Civic Center was actually 2 boxes (or maybe 3) away from ours and you would always remember the kid you found at the airport that day and would say “hi” when we would pass.
I’m not sure if you can make it tomorrow to come see me and my father down at our new company, but it would make my father’s day for sure to shake your hand. He’s actually bringing me a high-resolution version of the photo that was on the front page of the Sports section after the first exhibition game.
I can go on and on about that day, but I’ll save it for when I see you in person. For now, enjoy this news article, I actually have it hanging in my office at work.
Anyway, thanks again, Bruce! You made my first week at work so enjoyable just because of that phone call!
C Ethan McGill
Senior Executive Salesman
Bottom line–present and caring ownership matters a lot.
FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS COACHING THAT’LL HELP YOU PROVIDE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FOR 3-GENERATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT:
Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker
Ottawa Senators founder
• MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
• FREEDOM VIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND PB4L, PERSONAL BUSINESS FOR LIFE
• FEHAJ, FOR EVERY HOME A JOB
• MAKE YOUR HOME WORK FOR YOU, INSTEAD OF YOU WORKING FOR IT
• HIGHER ROI NOT JUST FOR OWNERS AND INVESTORS, BUT FOR TENANTS, GUESTS, VISITORS, NEIGHBORHOODS, COMMUNITIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES, CITIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT TOO
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CG_Heart.gif