Hahn To Introduce Bill Allowing Public Ownership Of Pro Sports Teams

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — South Bay Congresswoman Janice Hahn co-sponsored a bill Thursday that would allow public ownership of professional sports teams.

The bill faces an uphill battle — two previous attempts to pass similar bills have failed — and would unlikely be approved in time to apply to the Dodgers.

Nonetheless, Hahn said, the Give Fans A Chance Act would send a message that it could be possible in the future.

She said the bill fit the mood of the country right now. She called it Occupy Major League Baseball.

“Fans across this country have really been upset with many of the owners who really are all about corporate greed and profits and not so much about the team or the fans,” Hahn said.

Hahn said Angelenos watched the McCourts use the Dodgers as their personal bank machine to fund a lavish lifestyle “when they should have been spending more money on relief pitchers.”

The bill, co-sponsored by Hahn and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would be an amendment to 1961 anti-trust legislation. It would allow public entities to make purchases on professional sports teams in any league.

The National Football League has a complete ban on public ownership. The Green Bay Packers are an exception. The team was purchased by the city in 1923 and has held several successful stock sales. The NFL grandfathered in the team’s public ownership when the league put its ban in place.

Major League Baseball limits public ownership to a 49 percent or less minority stake in baseball teams.

The new bill also would give public entities 180 days to make an offer on a team when an owner announces plans to move the team to another city.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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