Can Democracy Make Americans Like Soccer?

Today I read about the most innovative sports team since the I read about the high school football team that doesn’t ever punt.

The team in question? You guessed it: Murcielagos FC, a second-tier soccer team in Mexico.

The Bats (their team mascot), are currently third in their league. In many ways, they’re like any other soccer team. But off the field there’s a huge difference between the Bats and any other sports team in the world:

Their fans make all of their decisions.

That’s right. The Bats don’t even have a coach. The fans vote on nearly every aspect of the time–who makes the starting lineup, who subs in when, who they should draft, and even game tactics. You can read about it here.

Certainly there is something to be said about the value of the coach. A coach is a rallying point for the team, someone who makes key decisions based on experience that goes well beyond most fans.

But at heart, sports are entertainment. Sports only exist because there are fans to watch them. So why not put the power in the hands of a team’s fans to make decisions? Think of your favorite team–how many times have you wished that they played a certain player more or less, or gone for a risky play instead of playing it safe? This is why fantasy sports are so popular.

With the amazing technology in many American sports stadiums, I think this would make people want to attend games more than ever before. When you take your seat, you register under your team and are offered a variety of decisions throughout the game whenever there’s a timeout. You have a small timeframe to vote on the next play, but the play itself remains a secret from the opponent.

I’d love for one team–just one team–to take a risk like this and try it out, even just for one game. What do they have to lose? Even if they lose the game, the fans lose with them instead of criticizing every decision the coach made.

What do you think? Would you attend that game?

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5 Responses to “Can Democracy Make Americans Like Soccer?”

  1. Mena says:

    That high school football team is insane.

    As to your idea, how would you prevent the opposing team’s fans from registering for your team and then making purposeful poor decisions?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Mena–Good thought. I wondered the same thing myself. If there’s only one team in the league with a voting system, other fans could sign up to vote the “wrong” way. I think maybe you need multiple teams to prevent that type of misuse. Sure, you could sign up as a fake fan then too, but other fans could do the same, and you’d probably rather lend your creative support to your own team.

      • Mena says:

        I think fans should have to sign up at the beginning of the season and pay for the opportunity to be part of the coaching committee. It is the only way I could imagine the concept working. Alternatively, I guess one could get onto the coaching committee by winning an ultimate-fan contest or something to that effect. I suspect that even with multiple teams, if fans are allowed to sign up freely, people would still sign up for opposing teams. I guess, ideally that would wash out because you’d have both teams doing it, but that is a big risk.

        Also, practically speaking, the fans couldn’t really be involved in the play-to-play minutia, especially in sports like basketball and hockey (with their rapid pace and few stoppages). Would it be a texting system wherein fans are presented with multiple choices and must choose one (like those choose-your-own-adventure books)? How would those data be processed in real-time? So many holes to fill…

        I think the committee should only be consulted for things like 4th-down conversions, relief pitchers, who should take the final shot in that last second set play, and when to take players out of the game. That would be pretty gimmicky though… ideally suited for something like arena football.

  2. Lorena says:

    I always thought fantasy sports were popular because they are gambling involving a topic you already care about.

  3. Jasmin says:

    1. I totally agree with Mena. There can be lots of loopholes. If you want to make a soccer team like this anytime soon, make sure you got a good structure system.

    2. I will forever see that logo in my mind whenever someone talks about Mexican soccer. Na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na. NA! NA! Batman! I wonder how they celebrate a victory. Dress as batmen and hit the bars?

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