The National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major Football League and Major League Soccer have all agreed to provide $1 billion in federal funding for sports programs, according to a letter from the presidents of the four leagues signed Friday.
The funds will go to expand sports-related programming on the Internet, boost participation and promote grassroots programs, the letter said.
It added that all five leagues are working to ensure that all athletes get the opportunity to participate in sports and that funding is allocated to the most effective programs.
The funding will be the first of its kind in sports for the federal government.
The four major sports are the National Football League, National Basketball League, American Football League (NFL) and Major Leagues Baseball and National Hockey Association (NHL).
The National Basketball Assn.
and Major Basketball Players Association, the parent organizations of the NBA, MLB and NHL, said they also agreed to the support of the funding.
“This agreement is historic and the best way for all of us to continue to build a safer, stronger and more competitive game for our players and fans,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
The NFL and NHL also announced they would give more than $1,000 to Sports in America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding sports participation, to support sports-based programs.
The NBA’s League Championship Series and the NHL’s All-Star Game will also get more than half of their money to support sport.
The money will also go to support youth basketball leagues in schools across the country, as well as other youth sports programs in the future.
The announcement was made by President Barack Obama and his White House chief of staff, Valerie Jarrett.
“This is a historic day in the fight against bullying and abuse, and I’m proud that these four teams are supporting us to take the next step toward eliminating this epidemic,” Silver said.
“I’m grateful for their support.”
The NBA has already provided nearly $8 billion in public funding to sports programs.
That includes $1 million for the league’s Youth Olympics, a program that provides sports-specific education, summer camps, mentoring and technical assistance for athletes.
The League is also providing $1 for every NBA home game ticket sold.NBA commissioner Adam V. Silver speaks at the 2017 American Basketball Association Awards in Los Angeles.
| Mark J. Terrill/APThe NFL and MLB have been the most vocal opponents of the current sports funding system, with each league stating they oppose any type of federal funding.
The leagues have said that they oppose such support for sports as the NBA’s “Cleveland Clinic” or the NFL’s NFL Foundation.
The NBA and MLB are in the process of renegotiating their collective bargaining agreements, which are set to expire at the end of 2021.
If the new CBA doesn’t reach an agreement, the league has indicated it could opt to become an independent entity, which would require it to provide more money to sports.
The leagues have also been fighting over sports-finance reform.
The MLB recently proposed legislation that would have required teams to disclose their payrolls, but the NFL and NBA have opposed it because it would require teams to keep their finances confidential.
The proposed legislation would also have created a tax-free fund for college sports programs and eliminated an exemption for sports-focused television contracts.
The letter from President Barack Obamas administration is a response to the efforts of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has been lobbying for sports funding.
The White House’s support comes after years of advocacy for sports money in the form of the Million Man March on Washington in 2019 and the NBA All-Stars game.