When the ideas of supporter ownership comes up people often ask two questions:
- Is supporter ownership possible?
- Wouldn't it be anarchy with the ever changing opinions of the average fan?
To address those two questions I have compiled a partial list of clubs currently owned by supporters around the world. As you can see from the list some of the world's most successful clubs, such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich, are majority owned by their supporters. Not only is it possible it has been proven to be a successful model if implemented properly.
Supporter Owned Clubs:
La Liga (Spain):
- FC Barcelona
- Real Madrid C.F.
- Atheltic Bilbao
- AC Osasuna
- Many other clubs in Spain are organized as a type of public limited company in which supporter groups hold a majority or large portion of the clubs shares.
- All German football clubs are required to have at least 51% supporter ownership (except for some historic works teams that are allowed to maintain their company affiliation, such as Volkswagen's VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer's Bayer 04 Leverkusen). - Wikipedia
- Check out this BBC article about how the Bundasliga differs from the premier league for more details. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22625160
- Swansea City (Welsh) - 20% owned by the Swans Trust.
- Portsmouth F.C. (English) - Fully owned by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust.
- Motherwell (Scottish) - Currently in the process of switching to fan ownership. Find out more details at the Wells Society website http://www.thewellsociety.co.uk/.
- There are over 40 other smaller clubs in the UK where fans own a large percentage of their club. Most of these are owned by supporters trusts. I chose to highlight Swansea, Portsmouth, and Motherwell because they are some of the more high profile clubs with significant fan ownership. Check out a full list of clubs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams#England
- You will notice that a lot of the clubs owned by supporters in the UK have only started to be supporter owned in the past 10 years. Momentum is growing for supporter ownership in the UK. A lot of great work is being done by Supporters Direct to help supporters buy shares of their clubs check out their website for the latest news: http://www.supporters-direct.org/.
- Green Bay Packers (American Football). They are the only supporter owned sports team in the four major American sports league. They are one of the NFL's most successful teams on the field, and off the field the Packers' have some of the most engaged fans in the NFL with over a 100,000 names on the season ticket waiting list. Many fans put their kids names on the list as soon as they are born. Check out the Packers' website for more details of how their fan ownership model works http://www.packers.com/community/shareholders/.
Brazil and Argentina:
- In Argentina all clubs are supporter owned. No other ownership model is allowed.
- Almost all Brazil clubs are supporter owned as well.
- For a more supporter owned teams check out Wikapedia’s list of supporter owned clubs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Fan_Owned_Teams