News & Media

Open letter from sports leagues to Congress

July 16, 2012, Official Release,

July 16, 2012

The Honorable John A. Boehner

Speaker of the House of Representatives

H-232 Capitol Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

We write to urge your continued opposition to the Kingston-McCollum Amendment to the House DOD Appropriations bill -- an amendment that would eliminate the U.S. Armed Forces' use of professional sport sponsorships as a means to achieve military recruiting and retention goals. For good reasons, a similar amendment has already failed twice in the 112th Congress -- once by a vote of 148-281 (Roll Call vote #90) and again by a vote of 167-260 (Roll Call vote #512).

Since the end of the civilian draft in 1971, the Services branches, with Congressional support, have employed a range of marketing tools to remain connected to the American people and, in particular, the young men and women whose commitment to our armed forces is critical to defending our freedoms at home and peace around the world. As major companies and nonprofits know well, sports marketing is a unique opportunity to reach young adults. Accordingly, sports marketing has long been an important element in the U.S. Armed Forces' efforts to reach young adults and active duty personnel regarding the military's mission and objectives that serve our country.

Today, while most Americans view military service as admirable, military recruiting is more challenging than ever as young adults are more difficult to reach through traditional media and local channels. Unfortunately, it is in this environment that the military's discretion to use sports marketing has come under attack in Congress. The Kingston-McCollum Amendment to the DOD appropriations bill, which recently passed in the House Appropriations Committee, would place restrictions on the military's ability to leverage sports marketing -- its most efficient tool -- to reach our young men and women. The amendment would directly inhibit the military's recruiting efforts at and around professional sports events.

Professional sport sponsorships by the Services branches have made a direct impact on military recruiting. For example, in 2010, the Army's recruiting efforts at NASCAR events resulted in 46,000 qualified leads. Similarly, the Services branches' partnerships with the National Basketball Association, National Football League, Major League Baseball and the IZOD IndyCar Series have created numerous points of contact, such as at games and local community events and online, to engage with young adults on the possibilities and rewards of military service. The benefits from these types of sponsorships offset the minimal costs to taxpayers.

Given the success of the military's use of professional sports to reach out to the American people, we encourage you to support the U.S. Armed Forces and enable them to continue to have the same access to media and venues as world leading businesses and nonprofits. Please work to remove the Kingston-McCollum Amendment from the House DOD Appropriations bill.


NASCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association

cc: The Honorable Eric Cantor

cc: The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

cc: The Honorable Steny Hoyer

cc: The Honorable Hal Rogers

cc: The Honorable Norman Dicks

cc: The Honorable Howard McKeon

cc: The Honorable Adam Smith

cc: The Honorable Bill Young