BISHOP FIGHTS FOR DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ACCESS TO PROFESSIONAL SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS
WASHINGTON D.C. - Yesterday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-O2), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies as well as co-Chair of the Congressional Military Families Caucus, spoke on the floor of the United States House of Representatives against the Kingston-McCollum amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations Act. If passed, the amendment would have prohibited the Department of Defense from investing resources in recruiting new soldiers through professional sports sponsorships.
"Our military deserves access to the most qualified potential recruits available,” said Bishop. “If this amendment is accepted, the U.S. government would be eliminating a proven successful investment in our nation's military personnel. A vote for Representatives Kingston and McCollum's amendment is a vote against the effectiveness of our military."
In addition to recruitment and a recognizable national profile, military sponsorships in professional sports provide a good return on investment, dollar for dollar. In 2011 alone, for example, the Army National Guard spent $44.4 million on motorsports sponsorships. Based on the market value, however, the total media exposure the Guard received totaled over $150 million, a 336% return on investment. If less is spent on advertising, the Department of Defense will have to increase bonuses to retain current military personnel and for recruitment.
DoD professional sports partnerships have resulted in key transfers of technology. For example, NASCAR has worked with the Marines to improve Humvee suspension systems and develop mine detonating rollers. Both advances have saved Marines’ lives. Understanding the mutual benefits, the amendment was opposed by the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), IndyCar, NASCAR, and the National Guard Association of the United States.
According to the Department of Defense, the amendment would hinder military recruitment of qualified candidates, impair access to employment resources for our nation's military families, and severely damage a positive financial investment for our military. This amendment would also limit the military from participating in the Olympics, sports games flyovers, sponsoring events such as the Marine Corps Marathon as well as air programs with the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds, and Golden Knights.
The Kingston-McCollum amendment was defeated in a bi-partisan vote of 216 to 202.
To watch Congressman Sanford Bishop’s remarks on the floor, please click here.