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, League of Fans and DC Organizations ask MLB Commissioner Selig to eliminate push for taxpayer dollars as basis for baseball relocation

Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st floor
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Selig:

As your relocation committee discusses what action or inaction to take next, the conclusion of those talks should eliminate the ongoing push to secure as much public taxpayer money as possible as the basis for choosing where the Montreal Expos will relocate.

Ever since the relocation committee began its quest nine months ago, it has made grossly inappropriate demands at the expense of taxpayers and the daily human needs and public necessities that their hard-earned dollars support.

We represent just a handful of the many organizations and residents of Washington D.C. who stand in growing opposition to Major League Baseball's ridiculous and greedy demands and the process by which the relocation committee pits cities against each other for the best taxpayer-squeezing deal.

We are unopposed to a baseball franchise, based on private investment, in our city. But if Major League Baseball is to come here and reap the benefits of our large population and media market, and loyal sports fans, it will not be because Washington D.C. caved in to your demands or those of the committee. It will be on our terms and not at the expense of the real life public necessities of our city which are already facing serious budget pressures.

You should instruct the relocation committee to find a locale based on fan enthusiasm, transportation lines and other such factors, not on the size of the public subsidy for a stadium. Especially in this time of extreme financial hardship for people and children who rely on the District government, there should be no public subsidy.

In addition, you should require the sale of the Expos to new local owners for no more than the amount Baseball paid for the team -- $120 million, not the inflated $250 million or more you will seek. The savings could be used by the private owners to build a new stadium, or renovate an existing one such as RFK, covering part of what you are now trying to take from taxpayers.

You must show leadership in putting an end to the current relocation model. If your committee still expects to convert public money into private profit in our city when next they talk, that will reflect the belief that the people of Washington D.C. are too powerless to do anything to stop this gravy train. That would be a serious misinterpretation. The citizenry is aroused and determined.

Entertainment should be given the first privilege of surviving the tests of a free market.


Ralph Nader, consumer advocate
Chris Weiss, Director, D.C. Projects, Friends of the Earth
Linda Leaks, Executive Director, Washington Innercity Self Help (WISH)
Shawn McCarthy, Director, League of Fans
Jenefer Ellingston, D.C. Statehood Green Party
T.J. Sutcliffe, Advocacy Coordinator, So Others Might Eat (SOME)
Christal Karnaze, Co-Director, D.C. Library Renaissance Project
Patricia Mullahy Fugere, Executive Director, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
Jordan Spooner, Director for D.C. Programs, 21st Century School Fund
Kimberly Perry, Director, D.C. Hunger Solutions
Lydia Watts, Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE)
Terry Lynch, Executive Director, Downtown Cluster of Congregations
Fair Budget Coalition of the District of Columbia
Ivy A. Lange, Equal Justice Works Fellow
Rev. John H. Mack, Pastor, First Congregational United Church of Christ
Parisa Norouzi, Community Organizer, Washington Innercity Self Help (WISH)
Marcus Raskin, D.C. Resident
Ian Birlem, D.C. resident
Sczerina Perot, D.C. resident
John Walsh, D.C. resident
Susie Cambria, D.C. resident
Naomi Richman, D.C. resident
Kathleen E. Hudson, D.C. resident
Crystal Weedall FitzSimons, D.C. resident
Mike Evans, D.C. resident
Raymond Rull, D.C. resident


Nader shifts fight to D.C. baseball

Full Story

Ralph Nader's op-ed column on Major League Baseball's plan to shake down D.C. taxpayers for a new stadium (7/13/03)