We have previously discussed how the National Football League continues to use tax-exempt status to avoid taxes and how NFL lawyers continually bully people over the use of terms like the “Superbowl.” The NFL never seems satisfied that it has squeezed enough money out of citizens or cities. Now, the NFL’s list of demands for cities wanting to host the Superbowl has been released and, even for those used to the greed of the NFL, the The 153-page checklist is pretty shocking from golf courses to ATMs. It appears that there is no limit to the appetite of Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Star Tribune acquired the list for Minneapolis winning the rights to Super Bowl LII that will highlight the new Vikings Stadium. The document includes a long list of things that the NFL demands for free including 20 billboards, 20 color pages of advertising, weeks of free radio ads, and an army of police officers to arrest people who try to sell non-NFL merchandize. Then there is the agreement to yank any ATM machines that do not take NFL-preferred cards — potentially leaving fans unable to get cash unless they get it from an NFL-related card. Then there is the necessity of four “top quality” golf courses and two “top quality” bowling lanes, including the waiver of any fees. Then there is the supply of portable cellular towers at hotels if the signal is not acceptable to the NFL royalty.
Then there are the free presidential suites in the best hotels and free police escorts for team owners.
Finally, in keeping with the NFL’s avoidance of federal taxes, the NFL demands full exemption from state, county, and city taxes.
The NFL is only able to get away with such grotesque demands because politicians are spineless and easily intimidated by the organization. I am a huge fan of football but I would gladly forgo the Super Bowl in my hometown if the NFL made such demands. If nothing else, Congress can finally act to strip the NFL of its non-for-profit status. It will not make a huge difference, but it would be good to see the NFL have to pay something to someone.