Former Satellite Lobbyist Using Fans As Weapons Against Cable Providers

A group led by a former lobbyist for Dish Network is attempting to cobble together support for a coalition representing the interests of sports fans in government. So, yay? Finally, the common guy is gonna to stick it to owners and their supporters in government who are hellbent on fleecing fans. ↵

↵Hold that cheer for a sec. While on the surface many of the organizations goals are commendable (cheaper tickets in stadiums that receive public funding, the elimination of the TV blackout rule), their ulterior motives to heap blame on cable companies for the ills of sports broadcasting while knowing full well that satellite companies are just as culpable cast serious doubt over whether the interests of sports fans are actually the objective. ↵

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↵From The Washington Times: ↵

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↵⇥The group also would push for enforcement of rules governing the carriage of sports networks that would benefit satellite television and other companies at the expense of competing cable providers. ↵⇥

↵⇥Cable companies are absent from a list of the coalition's target contributors, which includes Dish Network, DirecTV, RCN, Verizon and AT&T. Early plans for the coalition call for an initial annual budget of $410,000, with $150,000 set aside for federal lobbying, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times. ↵⇥

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↵⇥"It seems like a classic front group," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a lobbyist watchdog group. "Their whole point is to get away with something and fool people into making them think they care about sports. It's the product of lobbyists." ↵⇥

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↵While David Goodfriend, the organization's chairman, denies that corporate contributors would drive the Sports Fan Coalition's agenda and that it will eventually be funded by individual members. A slide show showing the organizations proposed timeline has surfaced online, showing that soliciting individual memberships will begin in earnest by the end of this year, though for most of its early run will be dependent on contributions from corporations. ↵

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↵Because the fact that they rail against blackout while the satellite companies get exclusive access to services the NFL Sunday Ticket is a curious contradiction that isn't going to look good so long as satellite companies are funding them. If anything, it looks like an attempt to deflect criticism. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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