There is no reason to have private owners of NFL football teams.
Any and all teams in the NFL are limited, by league mandate, in the amount of money they can spend on player personnel. Team income is no longer solely dependent upon the number of fans through the gates, and has not been for many years. TV contracts, revenue sharing, apparel licensing, corporate suites and large municipal financial contributions have created new and varied revenue streams, mitigating any need to truly care whether fans purchase tickets. More than 95% of NFL Stadiums built in the last 20 years have been financed with some amount of public funds, and 100% were given tax and property considerations. 65% of those stadiums had more than half of their financing provided by the city or municipalities. Some are owned outright by municipalities or are operated under the administrative auspices of a city or state.
All of the above facts can be taken taken as axioms to arrive at the following assertion: an NFL team owner assumes zero risk of not recouping every penny of the investment they make upon purchasing an NFL franchise. Unless America, as a nation, decides that we will not watch the NFL or buy the products that are advertised during the television broadcasts of NFL games, owning a football team is perhaps the most unassailable financial asset in the country.
Rather than allow all of the capital generated—generated without any effort, special insight, or actual financial risk undertaken on the part of ownership—to flow upwards to a small group of plutocrats, we should instead seize these entities and give them to the cities or states in which they operate.
Under the current ownership model, the staff charged with running the team is hired by the owner. In a municipal model, these primary positions could quite easily be appointed by a mayor, sports commission, or even by popular election. The electorate already watches the Super Bowl at rate nearly identical with the rate at which they vote in Presidential elections. Surely they would not turn up their nose at the chance to determine who runs their local football franchise.
Baltimore threatened just such a seizure prior to Robert Irsay moving the Colts to Indianapolis, where I live. This was a good idea, however, their considered actions lacked purpose and expediency. They should have imprisoned him, confiscated all of the team assets, and assumed control of the franchise immediately, rather than simply making an empty threat. Once the future of the team in Baltimore was secured, they could have released Mr. Irsay, reimbursed him for his team, and sent him on his way. (Such a fate would have been kind, considering the drunken cruelty Mr. Irsay was often rumored to visit upon his family and those who worked for him.)
This hypothetical pattern should be the model for all cities to take proper ownership of the NFL teams they support, fund, and ought to properly profit from. Here is the process I recommend cities follow:
Step 1: Freeze all NFL teams at the current valuations as determined by the most recent league assessment. These valuations most certainly exist somewhere in the NFL league office, which should be raided and seized as well.
Step 2: Offer the current owner a 10 year amortized reimbursement for the franchise, with interest at an extremely fair 4% APR.
Step 2.5: Begin recouping said monies immediately because now your city owns a fucking NFL team.
Step 3: If the owner refuses to recognize the sale, imprison him (or her, surprisingly, there are a couple of women owners) for theft and sedition. Release them once they recognize the proper ownership authority of the city.
Step 4: Reap hundreds of millions of dollars of municipal funds every year to be spent on things the city needs, which does not include a new NFL stadium for at least fifty years.
Step 5: (OPTIONAL) Execute the owners and the offspring of the owners, so that they do not attempt to raise an army and reclaim their neo-feudal possessions. Public executions in the NFL stadium would presumably have the greatest deterrent effect for any cousins or marginal familial relations of the deposed and newly deceased owners who would entertain probate claims or seek judicial redress.
If you somehow believe I am wrong, or that the last step in this process is excessive or uncivilized, I ask you to review the links/videos below and reconsider your assertion. Have a good day.