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.
‘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.
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.’
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