Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation to allow the National Football League (NFL) a role in the movement of teams and to protect communities that have invested substantial funds and goodwill into a team, as well as secure the best distribution of teams for the betterment of the NFL.
Senator Feinstein introduced the bill in the wake of a recent announcement that the San Francisco 49er's franchise is considering a move to Santa Clara.
“The Football Fan Protection Act is designed to slow the movement of NFL teams and prevent communities from suffering the financial and intangible costs of these moves,” Senator Feinstein said. “Our football teams are more than just businesses. They are a common denominator that cuts across class, race, and gender to bond the people of a city. They are a key component of a city's culture and identity.”
“We need to address the real costs imposed on communities by franchise movement that we have witnessed in the past 25 years,” Senator Feinstein said.
The Football Fan Protection Act would grant a limited antitrust exemption to the NFL, which would essentially require approval by the League for any proposed move of an NFL team. Major League Baseball already enjoys a broader antitrust exemption that permits such actions.
In the last 25 years, National Football League teams have moved seven times. In comparison, only one Major League Baseball franchise has moved during that period.
The bill would exempt the NFL from any antitrust laws that would prevent it from restricting the movement of its franchises. The exemption applies only to the NFL's ability to limit franchise movement and not for any other business activity.