In early September, reports emerged that the Ravens had entered into a partnership with the Maryland Health Connection to encourage participation by Maryland residents in the new federal healthcare law which has become known as Obamacare.
At the time, the Maryland Health Department told The Hill that “[t]he partnership will provide Maryland Health Connection with the opportunity to reach and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for health coverage beginning this fall through the health insurance marketplace.”
On Tuesday, JudicialWatch.org reported that the Ravens will receive $130,000 for a multi-platform advertising arrangement on the team’s television and radio broadcasts, its official website, its newsletter, and in social media. (The link landed on DrudgeReport.com, drawing plenty of attention to the situation.)
The Ravens are being criticized in some circles for “pushing” Obamacare. The Ravens have explained the situation by forwarding to PFT the statement that originally was issued several weeks ago, when the issue first arose.
“We have a sponsorship/advertising agreement with the Maryland Health Connection, a Maryland state agency charged with creating a health insurance marketplace in Maryland,” the statement from the Ravens reads. “Under its agreement with the Ravens, Maryland Health Connection will have radio ads during our game broadcasts and other Ravens-related radio and television shows, plus have exposure on Raven digital media properties and some stadium signage for two games. The advertising package with the Maryland Heath Connection is comparable to many other sponsorship agreements the Ravens have sold, including ones with the Maryland Lottery and the Maryland National Guard, as well as corporations like Giant Foods and Verizon.”
And that’s the point that shouldn’t be overlooked here. It’s an advertising deal struck by a for-profit entity that has the ability to project a message to a lot of people. The powers-that-be in Maryland want citizens to be aware of the new healthcare law and, ultimately, their options and rights under it.
Regardless of what anyone thinks or believes or fears about Obamacare, the Ravens are simply doing what professional sports teams do: Collecting money for sharing a slice of the high profile that professional sports teams enjoy.
Of course, the fact that the Ravens agreed to sell ads for a program like Obamacare invites criticism from those who oppose Obamacare. And the Ravens could have declined the opportunity. But in capitalistic society, how can anyone fault the Ravens for capitalizing on the ability to pocket $130,000 in advertising dollars that otherwise would have been used elsewhere?