Contact: David Goodfriend, Chairman
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 17, 2015 – Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reintroduced the Furthering Access and Networks for Sports (“FANS”) Act. Sports Fans Coalition issued the following statement:
Sports Fans Coalition thanks Senators Blumenthal and McCain for reintroducing the FANS Act and showing once again that they stand up for American sports fans and all the taxpayers around the country who help pay for new sports stadiums.
The FANS Act gives professional sports leagues a choice: if you want federal law to continue protecting you from criminal and civil antitrust liability, then require your media partners to keep the games on TV during contract disputes between broadcasters and pay-TV providers. If you don’t want to take on that obligation, you forfeit your antitrust exemption.
The FANS Act also helps baseball fans who are unable to access MLB games on broadcast or pay-TV by requiring games to be made available online to such households.
Here is what several Sports Fans Coalition Board Members had to say:
"Americans love sports. But they want the business of sports to be just as fair as the games on the field. The government gives gifts to professional sports leagues, including an exemption for criminal liability under the antitrust laws. The FANS Act says to professional leagues, if you want to keep getting that gift, you have to do something for the fans by helping to keep games on TV. That's fair."
--Brad Blakeman, Former Aide to President George W. Bush
"We're told not to talk about politics in polite company. Just talk about sports. But the truth is that politics and sports go together. Government policy at the local, state, and federal level impacts the games. Taxpayer money built 29 of the 32 NFL stadiums. The truth is that we need better public policy that actually reflects what fans want, not what billionaire owners demand. That's why I'm glad to see Sen. Blumenthal and Sen. McCain re-introduce the FANS Act."
--Dave Zirin, Sports Writer and Author
"I am from a sports family and watched my father play in the NBA. Not once did he shy away from what the games really mean to people. They're a way to teach kids about hard work and fairness. They shouldn't just be about who makes the most money. So our laws that impact professional sports, like the federal antitrust exemption enjoyed by professional leagues, should be grounded first and foremost in what's good for the public, for the fans. Thank you, Senators Blumenthal and McCain, for standing up for fans and demanding that the fans who pay their taxes, support their teams, and fuel the multi-billion dollar sports industry get better access to the games."
--Habiba Alcindor, Daughter of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Journalist
“Sports are an integral part of our society. We need government policy that better reflects the values of millions of American sports fans rather than just a handful of wealthy owners. Thanks to Senators Blumenthal and McCain, the FANS Act helps set a bar for what it means to have government policy that puts the fans --not the leagues, not the owners-- first."
--Dr. Brian Frederick, Ph.D.
“The bottom line is that professional sports leagues have the ability to keep games on TV. They should do so. The era of taxpayer giveaways and get-out-of-jail-free cards for sports leagues is ending. If the leagues want a benefit from the public, in this case an exemption from antitrust laws, then they have to offer fans and consumers something in return.” David Goodfriend, Chairman, Former Aide to President Bill Clinton
About Sports Fans Coalition: The nation’s largest sports fan advocacy group in the public policy arena, founded by Clinton and Bush White House staffers in 2009 and based in Washington, D.C., Sports Fans Coalition advocated for an end to the Federal Communications Commission’s “Sports Blackout Rule,” culminating in a unanimous Commission vote in 2014 to eliminate the rule and the NFL’s announcement in 2015 that it would suspend its own local blackout policy.
For more information on the Sports Fan Coalition please visit www.Sporstfans.org