How Lobbyists Advocated For Your Favorite Sports League

By September 29, 2020Sports
Inside a basketball arena during game-day lobbying

Each year top professional sports leagues go to Washington D.C. to advocate for and against policies that align with their best interests. These multi-billion dollar companies Include the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. Even the NCAA enlists the assistance of lobbying firms to voice their concerns. Although it is pretty much impossible to know what specific issue each league lobbied, their stance, or even how much money was spent lobbying, there is enough information to get a better understanding of what lobbyists did for your favorite leagues in 2019.

Amount Spent on Lobbying

  • NFL – $1.35 million
  • MLB – $1.24 million
  • NCAA – $450,000
  • NHL – $120,000
  • NBA – $0*

The NFL was the biggest player in sports lobbying in 2019, followed closely by the MLB. From there, there is a significant drop off when compared to the NCAA, who was just shy of spending half a million dollars and the NHL spent about a tenth of what the MLB did. When it comes to the NBA it’s a bit tricky, even though they did put forth three separate reports, none surpassed $5,000 and exact amounts below that number cannot be reported.

Top Lobbying Issues

  • Sports & Athletics (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA)
  • Taxation & Internal Revenue Code (NFL, MLB, and NHL)
  • Gaming, Gambling & Casinos (NFL, MLB, and NCAA) 
  • Aviation, Aircraft & Airlines (NFL, MLB, and NCAA)

According to ESPN and Bloomberg Law, the NBA and MLB have been lobbying in over a dozen states to take advantage of sports betting since 2018. With sports betting increasing in popularity, it is safe to say the issue came up again last year. Back in 2017, American and United Airlines dropped nine NFL teams, leaving them with a huge sense of uncertainty when it came to traveling. According to the airlines, it was cheaper to use those planes for commercial flights instead. With NCAA and MLB teams having similar amounts of personnel aboard flights, they might face the same challenges the NFL did.

Amount Spent On Lobbying Firms

  • NFL – $1.21 million
  • MLB – $780,000
  • NCAA – $240,000
  • NHL – $120,000
  • NBA – $0*

The NBA outsourced their lobbying but the exact amount is unknown due to the fact their reports did not surpass $5,000. The NHL also outsourced their efforts due to the fact they don’t have a government relations office in Washington D.C. Even though the NFL and MLB do have such offices, the bulk of their lobbying continues to go to external firms.

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If you are having trouble getting your voice heard by the policymakers who matter, let us be your advocate. As one of Arizona’s top-level lobbying firms, Dorn Policy Group is committed to providing results our clients ask for. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!