Unruly American sports fans may soon be treated just like hooligan fans overseas.
California is close to becoming the first state to ban troublesome fans from attending professional sporting events within its borders. The nation's biggest state has newly proposed legislation that would create a "Ban List" of difficult fans.
Those who end up on the list will have their names and photos published on the Internet and sent to sports venues, police departments and ticket offices throughout the Golden State.
California's attorney general's office will maintain the list of miscreants, and those caught attending a sporting event anyway could be sentenced to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Democratic assemblyman Mike Gatto, whose district includes Burbank and Glendale, proposed the measure in reaction to San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow's savage beating in the parking lot outside Dodger Stadium on opening day of the 2011 baseball season.
"Everybody who is at these ballparks are sports fans," Gatto told the Sacramento Bee. "So to take away what they love, to say, 'You can't attend a game anymore,' that's a real penalty to them."
Under Assembly Bill 2464, violent offenders could be placed on the ban list by a judge for up to five years on the very first conviction, 10 years for a second and up to a staggering 25 years for a third. The Sacramento Bee reports the bill covers only serious felonies from assault with a deadly weapon to infliction of great bodily injury.
Soccer fans in England and Italy have had similar laws in place for years.
Officials from the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL have yet to take a stand on the proposed law. Each of California's 17 professional franchises would have to pay $10,000 each to the state in order to set up and maintain the banned list.
The bill would not apply to minor league franchises in the Golden State. All professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams would be covered, starting in July 2013.
Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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