Want Fans To Buy In? Let Them: Chattanooga Provides Fans The Chance To Buy Shares
Always a trendsetter and innovator, Chattanooga FC is a leader in American soccer. Inspired by the Green Bay Packers’ community ownership structure, the club is implementing a model designed for deepening the fan relationship and long-term growth in Tennessee.
NPSL Soccer News: Chattanooga FC of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) has announced a limited opportunity to become an owner in the club, becoming the first American sports team to do so since the securities reform laws passed in late 2016 allowed such investments.
Proceeds from the limited offering of 8000 shares will support the club’s move from amateur to professional players and year-round operation.
This is a first. Become an Owner.
The community will be able to purchase shares of the club, offering fans true ownership.
Chattanooga FC was founded by a group of local people who care for the welfare of the city and has developed a deep relationship with their fans.
“Chattanooga is a very close-knit, collaborative community,” said Tim Kelly, Club Chairman. “We have dreamed of offering our fans ownership since the beginning. Our town is very community driven. This effort adds to sponsorship deals and private investment. We want our fans to be part of our club as owners. We are financially healthy and this allows our fans to buy into the club.”
“In any retail business, you listen to your customers. This could transform soccer,” said Kelly.
While the club’s focus is local, Chattanooga FC hopes its offering inspires a wave of supporter ownership across the U.S, changing the landscape of American soccer by connecting teams with fans and the communities that love them.
“Since our first year, our expectation has been to offer our fans shares in the club, so we are very excited to finally do this,” said Chattanooga Football Club board member Krue Brock. “For ten years, we’ve been Chattanooga’s team, so being able to offer fans shares so that they have a voice in the direction of the club is perfectly aligned with who we are. Think Green Bay Packers and you understand the path we are on.”
Although the community ownership model is not a common practice in American soccer, CFC embraces being a pioneer in the United States.
Founded in 2009, Chattanooga Football Club has drawn nearly 350,000 fans to its games at Finley Stadium over the course of the last ten seasons.
In 2019, the club will play an extended season with professional players in the NPSL Founders Cup, and fully launch the league in 2020.
“We have a long tradition of being an icebreaker,” said Kelly.
Always looking to grow the game of soccer in America, Kelly says, “We welcome other soccer clubs calling us to find how we did it. We believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast. That’s how we roll.”
The club is hopeful that this will serve as a model for other clubs across the country. “The American sports landscape is dominated by a relatively small group of very wealthy owners,” said Kelly.
“We feel this could be a real game-changer to connect communities across the country with teams they love in a deep and meaningful way.“
“Teams leave cities because their objective is not to serve the community, but to maximize profit,” Kelly said. “By offering our fans ownership and re-organizing as a public benefit corporation, we are permanently committing ourselves to Chattanooga. We love this city and will never leave it.”
The founding group has asked the following:
“How can we use soccer as a tool to improve Chattanooga and our quality of life?”
Over the last 10 seasons, CFC has invested in the community through time, energy, and resources. Chattanooga FC Women, Chattanooga FC Academy, Chattanooga FC Foundation, Highland Park Commons, Chattanooga Sports Ministries, and Operation Get Active are ways the soccer organization has engaged, invested in, and enriched the community since 2009.
“We have dreamed of offering our fans ownership since the beginning,” said Kelly.
“There’s even more that we want to accomplish, but we’ll need to do it our way, and we’ll need your help,” said the CFC founding group in a press release statement. “The American soccer landscape is currently dominated by a small group of wealthy owners – a model that runs counter to our community-based philosophy.”
Become an owner of the Chattanooga Football Club
With the passage of the Jobs Acts in late 2016, Section CF crowdfunding allows non-accredited investors to make investments in corporations from a simple, online platform. Chattanooga Football Club will be the first sports team to offer shares, and one of only a handful of teams to ever offer public ownership.
While the practice is common in the rest of the world, even mandatory in the German Bundesliga, it is rare in the US.
“Chattanooga Football Club is at the forefront of American sports by offering its fans the opportunity to be owners of the team they love and support,” noted Kim Arnone, Vice President of Cutting Edge Capital, a strategic capital consulting company that advised on the process. “Capital raises, like Regulation CF and direct public offerings, are a perfect fit with community-focused and fan-based enterprises like Chattanooga Football Club. Fan and stakeholder investment in beloved local institutions forges connections that make communities stronger and more vibrant and that is what the club is hoping to achieve with this offering.”
Note: If you want to buy shares as a gift for friends or family, you must purchase those shares individually.