League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

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League of Fans is motivated by people, just like you, who are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference. We work with concerned citizens, sports fans, civic groups and communities to increase awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, influence a broad range of issues in sports at all levels and encourage the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.

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We often think of sports as outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. But the many benefits to society that sports can provide are sometimes undermined by a different set of values, often based on the quest for higher and higher profits at the expense of fans, taxpayers, communities, culture and social justice.

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Ralph Nader's letter to NYC Mayor Giuliani opposing Yankees proposed move to Manhattan and the sale of stadium naming rights

The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani
Mayor of New York City
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Mayor Giuliani:

I think it is time we finally end this circus which is strangling Yankees fans and residents of New York City. The latest announcement from George Steinbrenner to sell the naming rights of a pending new stadium should be enough to sway even you against his plans.

All along, Mr. Mayor, you have supported his agenda to move from The Bronx to Manhattan and to heavily fund the move. You have thrown Mayoral dignity out the window for him. And for what? So one of the greediest, stingiest owners of all professional sports can replace a name so rich in tradition like Yankee Stadium?

Why should he have the right to do this or, even worse, require a city to pay him to do this? Lets remember how it all started: Yankee Stadium was built 75 years ago by Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L. Huston for $2.5 million. In 1973 Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 million. Three decades later, through tax funding and fan's willingness to put up with his antics and come to the ballpark, Steinbrenner has turned his teams' net worth into an estimated $500 million.

From the days of Ruppert and Huston to present, Yankees fans have watched historic games at Yankees Stadium, and collected memories that will stay with them forever.

They watched the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson and Don Mattingly. They witnessed the month of October like no other fans have. For over a half century they have strolled through the gates of "the House That Ruth Built." And now they may be forced to watch the Yankees at Merrill Lynch Stadium? Or Ernst & Young Park?

You have sold out so much already. You have continually expressed your unwillingness -- with the approval of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who is working as an unpaid advisor to Steinbrenner -- to allow residents of New York City to vote on a referendum. You have even gone as far as to propose a sham commission to reform the City Charter to prevent a referendum from being on the ballot.

Your streets still have crime. Your schools are falling apart. And you won't even allow the people to vote on whether or not to give a millionaire over a billion dollars.

Possibly Gov. George Pataki could step in. All he would have to do is have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority declare the West Side site unavailable. That would hinder any move or name change. But why not just listen to your people?

Many pollsters have said that over 80 percent of New Yorkers oppose a Yankees move to Manhattan. That should tell you something. It should tell you that the Yankees are important to the voters who placed you in office. It should tell you that tradition and purity mean something to fans. It should show you that Yankees Stadium should always be Yankees Stadium.

In the fans' interest,

Ralph Nader