M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Development of a story idea: Rooting for the home team? There’s a PAC for that

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Over at msnbc.com, where I hang my professional hat, I have a piece today examining the intersection of big-time sports and political activism in Washington:

If you’re among the many Americans who believe lobbyists are part of what’s wrong with this country, you should know this: If you’ve ever gone to a football, baseball, basketball or hockey game — or even watched one on TV — you have your own special interest groups pushing your agenda in Washington.

Even Ralph Nader is working for you. …

Leaders of the groups push a number of different agendas — fighting soaring ticket prices, league lockouts and television-rights deals that black out some fans, among others — but they come together on one issue: what they see as the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s exploitation of athletes and fans for profit.

Many believe the answer is to scrap the Bowl Championship Series, which purports to pit the two best college football teams in the country for the national championship, even though its postseason matchups are determined by pollsters and computers, not by on-the-field competition.

The Sports Fans Coalition was recently cited in a story I was reading on the NBA lockout, described as a nonprofit sports fans interest group. Thinking “there are lobbyists for sports fans?” might be an interesting little nugget for Open Channel, our political/investigative blog, I started checking around and found out that there’s actually a growing industry of nonprofit groups claiming to represent the inchoate, disorganized interests of the “sports fan” — one of them a full political action committee, another run by Ralph Nader’s operation.

If you can truthfully put together football, money and Ralph Nader, you’ve got a legitimate long-form story, I figured. Let me know what you think of the result.

Written by Alex

October 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

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