Sports not only builds strong bones and teamwork. Sports teams build community. We root for our home teams, whether they be high school or college or professional. But sports has become big business and increasingly our home teams have become absentee owned. And the absentee owners in all leagues threaten to pick up and go to another community if they are not given huge subsidies, usually in the form of a new stadium or ballpark.
What policies can we adopt that allow us that the home team will stay at home and remain a way for all ages and races and genders to bond as fans?
Examples and history from a handful of community owned sports teams including information on Appleton, WI, Timber Rattlers, Green Bay Packers, Harrisburg Senators, Memphis Redbirds, Rochester, NY, Red Barons, Syracuse, NY, Sky Chiefs and the Toledo Mud Hens. Continue reading
In 1998, Assembly Bill 684 – the New York State Sports Fan Protection Act – was introduced by Assemblypersons Richard Brodsky and Richard Gottfried as a means to acquire the Yankees if owner George Steinbrenner followed through on his threats to move the club to New Jersey. The bill would establish a State Sports Authority, which could condemn a franchise through the legal practice of eminent domain and sell shares of it to the public if either a) the cost of a stadium to the public exceeded the value of the franchise, or b) the franchise takes action to move from the state. Continue reading
Numerous bills involving community ownership were introduced during the Minnesota Twins stadium debate of 1997 and early 1998. Most, however, were tainted with the inclusion of a publicly funded ballpark. Representative Phyllis Kahn’s House Bill 3348 separated this controversial issue from the community ownership concept, which received broad public support. In 2002, Kahn re-introduced a similar bill H.F No. 2587 which was debated, amended and passed out of the House Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy. The bill stalled after Governor Ventura’s administration put forward a plan to help the Minnesota Twins get a new outdoor stadium with the help of the state’s bonding authority. Continue reading
In response to Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate the Minnesota Twins from the league, Senator Paul Wellstone introduced legislation in November 2001 to amend the Clayton Act to make the antitrust laws applicable to the elimination or relocation of major league baseball franchises. Current law provides baseball an exemption from antitrust rules and regulations. Continue reading
Initially introduced in 1997 and re-introduced in 2001 by Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer, The Give the Fans a Chance Act would forbid leagues from prohibiting community ownership. If a professional sports league ignores this provision, it will lose its sports broadcast antitrust exemption. Continue reading