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Margaret Wood Hassan

07/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/26/2021 17:53

Senator Hassan Goes to Bat for the Fisher Cats & Minor League Baseball Teams Across the Country

July 26, 2021

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined her colleagues in stepping up to the plate by cosponsoring legislation to help independent professional baseball and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams, including the Fisher Cats, that have struggled economically after the COVID-19 crisis threw a curveball into their 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Minor League Baseball Relief Act would provide up to $550 million in federal relief funding for independent and MiLB teams. This would also strengthen local economies, since game attendees patronize small businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and other attractions across New England.

'Baseball is America's pastime, and few sights signal recovery more than baseball stadiums filling up again as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,' said Senator Hassan. 'When families and friends come together to share in their love of baseball, small business owners also win-serving customers and stimulating the local economy. I'm glad to sign onto this bill that will help smaller baseball teams recover from a difficult revenue loss from a canceled season, and I am proud to cheer on the Fisher Cats and Red Sox!'

'We're grateful for Senator Hassan's leadership in helping introduce this bill to help support our Fisher Cats,' said Mike Ramshaw, Team President of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. 'We're more than a baseball team, we're a part of the New Hampshire community. We're so excited to be back on the field this year and showing up again for Granite State families. Relief like this will be sorely needed as we bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and reopen for business.'

The Minor League Baseball Relief Act would be modeled after the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG) program, which has provided needed assistance to venues like theatres, museums, and concert halls that were forced to shut due to necessary COVID-19 safety measures.

Specifically, the Minor League Baseball Relief Act would:

  • Repurpose up to $550 million in COVID-19 relief funding for an emergency grant program to be administered by the Small Business Administration that would otherwise be returned to the U.S. Treasury.
  • Provide eligible clubs grants up to a maximum of $10 million. Allowable expenses include payroll costs, regular business expenses (e.g., rent, utilities), worker protection expenditures, and payments made to independent contractors.
  • Provide an opportunity for a second grant at 50 percent of the first if a club's revenue does not recover and does not significantly exceed its 2019 total.
  • Require strict oversight from SBA through documentation, review of use, and an audit on grant funding, and applies to any minor league baseball team previously part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues but not to any club that is majority-owned by Major League Baseball.

Play ball and read a copy of the bill text here.

Senator Hassan is committed to providing small businesses and entertainment venues with the support that they need to innovate and thrive. Earlier this month, the Senator visited the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion to discuss the importance of the COVID-19 relief that Senator Hassan helped secure. The American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law earlier this year, includes the bipartisan Recovery Startup Assistance Act that Senator Hassan introduced to provide payroll assistance through the Employee Retention Tax Credit to new small businesses started during the pandemic. The December COVID-19 relief and government funding package also included bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Hassan to allow eligible small employers to both participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and also claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers on payroll and pay for their health care coverage. Senator Hassan was also recently recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for her efforts to promote and support New Hampshire's businesses.

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