The Toronto Blue Jays
Parent company: Rogers Communications (RCI)
While owning a bit of Canadian media has a Degrassi Junior High appeal all its own, keeping the Blue Jays competitive in the American League East and returning them to the World Series for the first time in 19 years is the much tougher challenge. Rogers has owned the Jays since 2000 and bought their stadium, then known as SkyDome, five years later. The team hasn't been to the playoffs under Rogers ownership and has finished better than third in the AL East only once in that span (2006). As the Tampa Bay Rays have shown in recent years, all it takes is some sports savvy and investment to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. With both teams hobbled this year, the Jays' window may be opening.
The Miami Heat
Parent company: Carnival (CCL)
If fans want a say in which players take their talents to Miami next, buying Carnival shares may be the best way to be heard. Carnival itself doesn't own the Heat, but CEO Micky Arison does. Fans have a better chance of beating Chris Bosh in horse right now than they have of talking to Arison as ticket-holding plebes. As shareholders, fans can at least drop the occasional hint about trading Dwayne Wade while he has value or scouring the free agent market for a decent point guard.
Parent company: Comcast (CMCSA)
A hint, Philly fans: "Boo" isn't working. It doesn't matter that Flyers goaltending came up about as big as a Tastykake in the playoffs this year or that two of your biggest rivals are playing for the Eastern Conference title right now. You've booed so much in the past that your sports teams' executives have accepted it as your default setting. You may as well be saying "shoe." We realize the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger just made the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center small pieces of a very large machine, and that Ed Snider's big share of Comcast-Spectacor mutes Comcast's voice a bit, but a Comcast share is your best shot at setting things right. Our advice: Show up to a shareholder meeting, get a seat right up front and just boo. It may not be effective, but it'll be far more entertaining than the Flyers' series against the Devils.
Daytona and Talladega speedways
Parent company: International Speedway (ISCA)
Buying shares won't make the Car Of Tomorrow go away and won't make drivers try harder in the All-Star race, but a stake in International Speedway can make a big difference in how and where you watch NASCAR. Started by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. in 1953 to build Daytona International Speedway, ISC owns 13 tracks and hosts 19 of NASCAR's 36 events. The company still talks about building more speedways and expanding NASCAR's reach, which gives investors in target areas such as New York and the Pacific Northwest lots of motivation to buy in and get building.
Parent company: Green Bay Packers
Every small market in the NFL wants the Packers' community ownership agreement, but the NFL's grandfather clause says sports socialism can only go so far. The Packers' ownership structure was grandfathered in during the 1980s and allowed the team to build a base of more than 112,000 voting shareholders. Each time the team needs to renovate Lambeau Field -- as it did this year -- it sells shares and hands out voting rights. The stock can never appreciate in value and doesn't get its holders free tickets, but shareholders get to meet at Lambeau and vote on the board of directors. It's not much, but having a stake in the team's Super Bowl victory two years ago has value all its own. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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