Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (06/27/1996)

Fan Freedom and Community Protection Act of 1996 - Requires a professional sports team owner seeking to relocate the team to provide notice to the local government for the community in which the team's stadium or arena is located (home community), the sports authority with jurisdiction over the stadium or facility, any owner or operator of such stadium or facility, and the professional sports league concerned and each member team.

Requires such notice to: (1) be delivered in person or by certified mail and published in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the home community; and (2) include the proposed new location, a summary of the reasons for moving, and the date on which the change is scheduled to become effective.

(Sec. 4) Directs a league, within a year after the submission of the name of an investor, to grant to the investor a new expansion team franchise at a fee no greater, and on terms and conditions no less favorable, than those granted to the last expansion team franchise granted. Authorizes the league, for ten years after granting an expansion team franchise, to approve a resale of the team but not the team's relocation, except as provided herein. Makes this section inapplicable to a team that relocates within 25 miles of the home community and remains within the State in which the home community is located.

(Sec. 5) Permits, under the antitrust laws, a league to enforce rules or agreements authorizing its membership to decide whether a member team may relocate. Requires a league, in determining whether to approve such relocation, to make specific written findings, including findings regarding fan loyalty and the extent to which the team received public financial support.

Specifies that no decision by a league to permit a relocation shall be valid or final until the league has: (1) conducted at least two public hearings in the home community; (2) permitted any interested member of the public to deliver oral, or file written, comments; (3) published written findings in a local home community newspaper setting forth the basis of such decision; and (4) delivered copies of such findings to the local government of the home community and any sports authority.

(Sec. 6) Requires (except where recovery of financial assistance is a remedy under the contract) an owner who relocates a team from one playing facility to another and who, in so doing, breaches a contract with the State or local government to pay to such government the value of financial assistance provided by the State or local government to the team. Makes a team owner who violates the requirement of this section liable to the State or local government that provided financial assistance to the team for an amount equal to three times the value of the assistance provided.

(Sec. 7) Makes a league that violates the requirement to grant a new team franchise: (1) liable to the home community in which a team was previously located for damages of three times the purchase price or market value of the team, whichever is greater; (2) subject to the suspension for one season of its antitrust exemption for pooling the broadcasting rights to games; and (3) subject to the loss of the antitrust exemption under this Act for the franchise relocation that led to the violation. Sets forth enforcement provisions.