By Kim Hart - 10/30/09 01:11 PM EDT
UPDATE: The Sports Fans Coalition website is now up and running.
David Goodfriend, a former satellite industry lobbyist, is helping to launch a new coalition today that has cable exclusivity rules in its crosshairs, as well as issues like high event ticket prices, game blackouts, and other league rules and federal regulations. The Sports Fans Coalition is getting support from Verizon, who is active in that battle. Read more specifics about the longstanding fight between cable and satelllite operators here.
Media Access Project is serving on the advisory board. President Andy Schwartzman told me MAP "has has a few serious sports fans" as employees. The board of directors also includes Mark Walsh, who has worked at AOL, GE and HBO, and is now chief executive of Genius Rocket, a Bethesda, Md.-based company that offers crowd-sourced design. (The firm helped design the coalition's logo).
Dave Zirin, a sports journalist, also helped start the coalition. He wrote this column yesterday about the building of a brand new stadium in Los Angeles, even though the city doesn't yet have a team to play there. This issue is a high priority for the coalition. The high prices to attend games at publicly financed stadiums is another thing the coalition wants to tackle.
"Just as with bank bailouts, if you're going to use public resources, either pay the money back or give tax payers a fair return," Goodfriend said.
Goodfriend, who was an advisor in the Clinton Administration, now runs is own lobbying firm with his wife. He still does some work for satellite provider DISH networks. A few stories ran over the past week that painted the coalition as a front-group for the satellite industry. Goodfriend said he got "some pretty hard reactions from cable companies and sports leagues...but all that did is make me want to do this more." This story on deadspin.com has more details.
Also, one thing to clear up from today's story. Gigi Sohn, who is president of Public Knowledge, is on the group's board of directors. Public Knowledge, however, is not involved.