News & Politics

NFL Franchise Having Trouble With Sale Due to League Controversy

Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard (59) calls for crowd support against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 23-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

NFL franchises are billion-dollar businesses with massive payrolls and monster expenses. It’s understandable that some owners may want to bring in some minority partners to infuse some cash into the works.

Yet the owner of the Tennessee Titans is having a little bit of trouble with that these days. Susie Adams Smith is the daughter of Bud Adams, one of the founding owners of the AFL. When her father died, she inherited the team. Now she wants to sell a 33 percent stake in the team valued at over $2 billion.

There’s just one problem: “There are no buyers,” a source familiar with the situation told the New York Post.

While teams are expensive, it’s important to note that the Tennessee team is far from the most expensive property in the NFL. That honor goes to the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, the Titans are near the bottom of the list, marking the team as a potentially good value for an investor.

Unfortunately, there are other factors at play. “A buyer would be rolling the dice that NFL values are going to continue to rise,” the source argued.

That’s a serious roll of the dice right now, especially in light of the many things working against football in general and the league in particular. Despite the claims of people like Mark Cuban and others, the impact of health concerns isn’t what’s hurting the league.

It’s the many fans turning their back on the NFL after players intentionally offered up a symbolic middle finger to the National Anthem.

You see, even if people aren’t playing football as much as they once were, people were still watching it. It’s one thing to risk your own child’s health for a game, but humans have a long history of watching others put their lives at risk for personal amusement. From the gladiators in the Coliseum to boxers pounding one another in the ring to the meteoric rise of mixed martial arts, people actually like seeing others put their health and safety at risk.

Football is no different.

For evidence of this, the NFL is shedding viewers but college football isn’t. If football was now unwelcome in American homes as some have claimed, wouldn’t college football also have lower ratings?

People are sick of politics interfering with their recreation. Fans watched the NFL to escape their regular life for a little bit. A man could be down on his luck, but for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, he could watch his team win and actually feel like he had a victory. He could relive it as he watched the sports shows during the week, even.

Now the worst of the real world, one of the three things you’re not supposed to talk about in polite company, intrudes on his entertainment. So he turns it off and finds something else.

College football doesn’t have that problem. There may be controversies — should Georgia or Alabama be ranked #1? (Hint: Go Dawgs!) — but fans looking for escape can deal with those. They’re within the context of the entertainment, so they can accept it within that framework.

But the NFL has left that behind. They’ve allowed the controversy to sever its relationship with a great many fans, and that’s having ramifications. Today, the Tennessee Titans are having an issue. It’ll be someone else next if the league doesn’t address it fast.