New California bill would create statewide sports authority 

A new bill introduced in the state legislature today aims to prevent intrastate squabbling over the locations of professional sports teams, such as happened with the high-profile tug-of-war between Santa Clara and San Francisco over the San Francisco 49ers.

AB 266, introduced by state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, would create a statewide sports authority to help eliminate regional conflicts over teams, coordinate efforts to keep teams in the state and bring in new teams, and finance sports arenas.

According to Ammiano’s office, the current situation in California, in which several local sports authorities sometimes come to loggerheads, makes it more possible to lose teams and arenas to other states, and is also costly to local municipalities.

California now has five Major League Baseball teams and three National Football League teams, as well as hockey and soccer teams.

“Rather than continuing to pit cities and counties against each other in a public turf battle of local governments," Ammiano said. "We need to move to a more efficient system for dealing with professional sports teams.”

Ammiano said the authority would “ensure that California continues to produce championship teams like the San Francisco Giants.”

In addition to the dispute over the San Francisco 49ers, similar issues of financing arenas and moving teams have arisen in Southern California and Sacramento, according to Ammiano’s office.

 

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Ari Burack

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Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

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