Sports Law Blog
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
California Assembly: Angels Engaged in False Advertising

The California legislature has decided that the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" amounts to false advertising and has decided to do something about it. Yesterday, the state assembly passed the "Truth in Sports Advertising Act" (AB 1041), a bill aimed directly at the team's new monniker. I discussed the bill in this earlier post (2/25). The bill would require any professional sports team that plays a "plurality" of sporting events in a year in a place different from its official name would have to disclose that fact on all tickets, advertisements and promotional materials. The proposed law now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. (Lawrence, "Angels would have to disclose Anaheim connection in ads, tickets," AP, 05/16/05; Shaikin, "Assembly passes 'Disclaimer' bill," LA Times, 05/17/05).

The necessity of this legislation is up for debate. California has its fair share of laws that require disclosure but that, in fact, do little. In addition, don't the Angels already satisfy the proposed law? After all, their official name is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is pretty strong indication of where they play their games -- but I suppose the bill's purpose is to keep them from dropping the "of Anaheim."

As happens with most knee-jerk legislation, though, the bill could have a big impact on sports in California. Will suburbs even be able to compete to build new stadiums in the future? Will the NFL want to grant Los Angeles a team if it has to put on all of its promotional materials that the team plays in Carson? Without the competition from the surrounding areas, the cities may be able to strongarm the teams into long-term leases on unfavorable teams, which will only create animosity between the city and the team. The only certainty with the law is that it will have an impact far beyond the Angels and Orange County.


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