Two Students Hope to Buy Red Sox; Sophomores Run Ad to Form Syndicate
Have you ever wanted to own your own professional baseball teams? Two Harvard students want to make the dream of sitting in the owner's box at the World Series come true.
The two potential owners, sophomores, David Campbell and Bruce Shepard, say they also want to open the opportunity to other New Englanders and Red Sox fans. They want to form a public syndicate to buy the Sox, Campbell explained.
"Own a piece of the Sox," asks an ad that will appear in the Boston Globe Friday night and Saturday. The two student entrepreneurs are running the ad to test public interest in forming such a corporation.
The students are asking fans to send in a coupon stating how many $20 shares individuals would be interested in buying.
The two seem to be off to a good start. The Yawkey estate, the current owner of the team, is only asking $18 million for the Sox, and Campbell and Shepard have already paid for the $140 ad totally with other fans' donations.
"There are a lot of fanatics around, and we only have to sell 900,000 shares at $20 each," Campbell said. "That is only one dollar from every man, woman and child in New England," he explained.
"We actually are pretty serious," Shepard said.
The ad further asks, "Do you want to see 'our' Red Sox sold to George Steinbrenner, CBS, or ITT?" "We want to show the Red Sox that there are enough serious fans willing to invest for the New England people," the advertisement continues.
The two want to get together information on how many people might actually be interested in investing. If there is enough of a response the two will proceed from there.
Campbell said if he had some control, he would like to see the Sox put any profits back into the club. He would offer shareholders special rates and first shot at tickets, especially for the World Series tickets.
"We had wanted to call it 'Sox for the masses,' "Shepard said. The two have not really looked into what would happen if the response was good, he added. They are planning on going to the media when the results come in to make the cause into a mass movement.
One investor may have to put up $1.8 million, because of legal requirements, though the two have not really looked into the legal aspects of forming a corporation, Campbell said.
The Red Sox office would not comment yesterday on the ad or the idea of a popular syndicate buying the club.
One Globe sports reporter said he thought that Mrs. Yawkey has already decided who is going to buy the club and it is only on the market to raise the price or to make the people of New England think they are being democratic.
Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, said the students could not operate the corporation from their Harvard address, but added he never underestimates the entrepreneurial skill of Harvard undergraduates.
All Red Sox and other baseball fans contacted yesterday expressed great interest in the idea, but had reservations about the possibility of raising the money and the legality of the project.
"If you're looking for a profit, baseball is not a good investment, the payroll has tripled in the last three years, but I certainly would buy a few shares," Marc Sobil '80 said yesterday