Sportress of Blogitude

49ers fan movement calling for Jed York to sell team raises $2K of $89K goal


A group of disgruntled San Francisco 49ers have joined forces to start a movement with the stated goals of exerting enough public pressure to coerce owner Jed York to sell the franchise, among other things. While the movement is in its infancy, the group so far only has raised $2,000 of its stated $89,000 goal.

The organization going by the moniker “Free the 49ers” have launched a project page on Kickstarter entitled, “Help Wanted – Niner Empire.”

The mission statement features passionately entitled sections such as, “This Team is YOUR Team,” “Cast a Vote for Change,” as well one that references a quote from Thomas Paine about tyranny.

The movement’s core beliefs and stated goals are as follows:

This is what we believe:

  • Our sports franchises are important parts of our community, that they add meaningful value by improving quality of life, happiness, and creating a shared sense of community
  • Team ownership must be accountable to the community in direct and tangible ways.
  • We the fan base have a right and an obligation to demand change.
  • The York Family has failed us both ethically and in terms of on-field performance.

These are our immediate goals for this project:

  • To raise money to buy a billboard in a prominent Bay Area location demanding Jed York resign and greater 49ers owner accountability to the Bay Area community and fan base.

  • To use the momentum and publicity generated by our project to promote a more robust public debate about the relationship between sports franchises and the communities that support them

The “Free the 49ers” organizers also list a second phase to the project as well as spell out the costs associated with effectuating the changes desired.

The costs mostly revolve around the erecting of billboards calling for York to sell the team, including billboard artwork and design ($7,500 – $10,000) and billboard rental, setup and maintenance for one month ($32,000 – $54,000), as well as other administrative costs. If money is raised in excess of the goal, the statement indicates it “will be utilized to support and increase the scope of the project.”

Grassroots movements dedicated to raising money toward a cause have become much easier to facilitate with the advent of sites like Kickstarter and the like. A contingent of unhappy New York Jets fans arguably were effective in their highly publicized billboard campaign to oust former general manager John Idzik, although it will never be known how much an impact their movement had upon the Jets’ decision to ultimately fire him.

Odds are slim the “Free the 49ers” movement will have the desired effect, but it arguably doesn’t hurt for fans to articulate their displeasure with a team’s ownership in such a manner, even if it only results in slight embarrassment or a public relations snafu.

[H/T Eye on Football]