Penalty flag? Super Bowl champs Baltimore Ravens are being PAID $130,000 to promote Obamacare in Maryland

By  David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 15:57 EST, 22  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:25 EST, 22 October 2013

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens  inked a sponsorship agreement in September with Maryland Health Connection, the  state’s Obamacare insurance exchange, that will pay them $130.000 during the  2013 football season to promote the Affordable Care Act.

The Maryland government announced the  partnership in September, citing the Obamacare exchange’s ‘opportunity to reach  and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for  health coverage.’

Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C.  organization that files hundreds of public records requests every year,  published a copy of the contract on Tuesday.

The National Football League resisted  overtures from the Obama administration, which wanted a league-wide sponsorship  deal. But the Ravens, who visited with President Obama in June to receive his  congratulations for their Super Bowl XLVII win, decided to play ball.

Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president and a  Ravens fan, called it a ‘propaganda deal’ for the 3-4 team.

 

Ravens' coach John Harbaugh presented President Obama with his own jersey when the Super Bowl champion team visited the White House on June 5Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh presented President Obama  with his own jersey when the Super Bowl champion team visited the White House on  June 5. The team inked a $130,000 contract three months later to promote  Obamacare

The contract pays the Ravens $130,000 in three payments during the 2013 football season
The contract pays the Ravens $130,000 in three payments  during the 2013 football season

‘The Super Bowl champion Ravens have enough  problems this season, and  allowing their name to be linked with the Obamacare  debacle is going to  further disappoint many fans,’ Fitton told  MailOnline.

‘This shows why Obamacare is a failure, as  the government seemed more  interested in spending money on ads rather than  making it work.’

The Ravens’ media relations office did not  respond to multiple requests for comment.

But the Ravens’ contract with Maryland Health  Connection, negotiated through the Weber Shandwick public relations firm, calls  for the team to promote enrollment in Obamacare through ads on its stadium  Jumbotron and its flagship websites, and positive plugs in its fan  newsletter.

The Obamacare exchange will receive at least  two featured segments on all 17 weekly broadcasts of Ravens Report, a game-recap  show that airs on WBAL Plus-TV and Comcast SportsNet, along with a wide slate of  radio ads before and after games.

The team is also slated to deliver a two-week  ad campaign on its Facebook page, along with 5 tweets to its 382,000  followers.

The contract calls for the Ravens to promote Obamacare enrollment through Maryland Health Connection on its stadium Jumbotron, in its fan newsletter, and through its Twitter and Facebook accountsThe contract calls for the Ravens to promote Obamacare  enrollment through Maryland Health Connection on its stadium Jumbotron, in its  fan newsletter, and through its Twitter and Facebook accounts

Neither the Maryland government nor the  Ravens offered any specifics when the deal was announced in early  September.

But the sponsorship agreement lays out the  deal in detail, portraying the arrangement as less of a public service campaign  than a paid endorsement.

Should the Ravens reach the post-season, the  Maryland government would even have the option of extending the  contract

Americans for Tax Reform,  a conservative group best known for opposing tax increases through a pledge  signed by hundreds of members of Congress, is hosting an online petition that  calls on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ‘Keep healthcare  politics out of the NFL.’

The Ravens are in danger of going from first to worst this year, lumbering through the season with a 3-4 record so far, including a 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 20The Ravens are in danger of going from first to worst  this year, lumbering through the season with a 3-4 record so far, including a  19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 20

The Jumbotron screens above the end zones at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore are displaying at least two pro-Obamacare ads during each home game this seasonThe Jumbotron screens above the end zones at M&T  Bank Stadium in Baltimore are displaying at least two pro-Obamacare ads during  each home game this season

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