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House Passes Courtney’s, Save Minor League Baseball Task Force’s Resolution Supporting Minor League Baseball Teams

March 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House voted to pass H.R. 6020, legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and members of the bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force that reaffirms the cultural importance of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams across the United States. H.R. 6020 also instructs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the social, economic, and historic contributions that MiLB has made to American life and culture.

In his remarks, Courtney stated:

“I’m here next to the logo of the Norwich Sea Unicorns […], a franchise that […] provides an affordable, family venue for people to actually go to professional baseball games and see the stars of the future. That’s something that with the price of tickets for Major League baseball – whether it’s Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, or Citi Field in New York City – are just far beyond what a working family can afford to do.

“The logic of this in terms of economics makes absolutely no sense. Over the last four years, Minor League Baseball has averaged consistently 40 million fans. The cost to Major League Baseball per [MiLB] franchise is about $400,000 for the entire team for a season. When you look at the average value of a Major League Baseball team, it’s about $1.78 billion. […] Even the smallest is worth over a billion dollars. The notion that MLB is in desperate financial straits really doesn’t add up. And that’s why having GAO called upon – which this bill does, this isn’t just a feel-good bill. It calls on the gold-standard, the neutral analyst in our country, to drill down and look at what the economic impact would be.

“On February third we had rally in Norwich, CT. Hundreds of people showed up – vendors, folks who benefit from the economic ripple-effect of a Minor League Baseball team, but also the families and kids, and the high school baseball teams that use the field. We need to rise up and stop this development, which really goes to the heart of our country in terms of its national pastime. I strongly urge all of us to come together and pass this resolution.”

Click here to see Rep. Courtney’s full remarks.

Following reports that Major League Baseball (MLB) had proposed to disband short-season leagues like the New York-Penn League – which would eliminate 42 affiliated teams in total, including the Connecticut Sea Unicorns – Rep. Courtney and the House Save Minor League Baseball Task Force led the charge to protect these local teams. On November 19, 2019, they wrote to MLB Commissioner Manfred to urge the MLB to abandon its plan to eliminate 42 MiLB teams.

In January of this year, Rep. Courtney – a founding member of the bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force – helped lead the introduction of a resolution (H.R. 6020) expressing the sense of Congress that the MLB should maintain the current MiLB structure.

In February, Rep. Courtney led a stakeholders meeting at the Sea Unicorns’ Dodd Stadium to discuss efforts to push back against the MLB’s proposal – immediately following the meeting, a community gathering of fans, supporters, and public officials was held to support the Sea Unicorns.

On March 4, Rep. Courtney helped introduce H.R. 6020, which instructs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the social, economic, and historic contributions that MiLB has made to American life and culture. Last week, Courtney applauded the House Oversight and Reform Committee for voting to advance H.R. 6020, which set the bill up for today’s vote.

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