Oakland Ballers offer fans a chance to invest in team, give input on key decisions

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Want to own a baseball team?

The Oakland Ballers unveiled a community investment campaign Thursday, aiming to “revolutionize the sports ownership model by giving fans a real seat at the table,” the team said.

Ballers’ owners are offering fans what they call an unprecedented bundle of rights, including checks and balances on key team decisions, including where the team is based, changes to the logos and brand marks, and even some front-office hiring decisions.

The Ballers are in their first season playing in the independent Pioneer League, playing 48 home games at Raimondi Park in West Oakland.

“A team’s fans are an instrumental part of the team’s value,” said Paul Freedman, the Ballers co-founder. “That’s why fans should be treated accordingly with a real say in team management, not just hollow words.”

Freedman said he and co-founder Bryan Carmel want a team “for the people, by the people – a team that accrues value for fans and owners alike.”

The offering will be powered by DealMaker — built specifically for community investment rounds.

The team said it wants to revolutionize the social contract between teams and a community that in recent years has lost the Raiders to Las Vegas, the Warriors to San Francisco, and is about to lose the A’s to Sacramento, then Las Vegas.

The team said the crowdfunding campaign is the first step toward setting a new standard for fan engagement in sports team ownership.

“Oakland is just the latest example of a systemic problem with how pro sports teams are run in the United States,” Carmel said. 

“Over the past 80 years, more than 30 teams have moved, leaving fans heartbroken and powerless. Team owners often hold fans hostage, demanding public money for new stadiums, and if they don’t get it, they move the team to a different city that’s willing to pay up.”

Carmel said even people who aren’t Oakland sports fans can understand the frustration of losing something for someone else’s gain.

“The Ballers believe there’s a better way and that Oakland’s the perfect place to make it happen,” Carmel said.

For more information, visit invest.oaklandballers.com