View Full Version : Guess How Much NFL Pays in Taxes

26 Jan 14,, 22:27
A rant. But, a good one.

On Sunday, February 2, over 80,000 people will gather in the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium and over 100 million people will gather around their televisions at home in order to watch the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos face off in Super Bowl XLVIII, the biggest annual charity event in the United States.

How, you might ask, can a $70 million event ó one that entices advertisers to drop $4 million for a 30 second spot ó be a charity event? Why, because the National Football League, an organization that pulls in almost $10 billion in annual revenue, is a tax-exempt nonprofit.

Thatís right: tax-exempt. That halftime show featuring Bruno Mars? That Times Square toboggan, and the swooping skycams, and the emergency snow clearing? Your billions of lost tax dollars at work.

The NFL wasnít always a nonprofit; that didnít happen until 1966, a full 46 years after the organization was founded. Thatís when, after some clever lobbying, language specifically designating professional football organizations ó not sports leagues in general, just professional football organizations ó as nonprofits was slipped into a wholly unrelated bill and passed through both houses of Congress. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is currently attempting to revoke the NFLís status, but is also slated to retire, leaving NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who takes home about $30 million a year, to laugh, laugh, laugh all the way to the bank.

You would be right to see a difference between the NFL and, say, the American Red Cross, or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or your local colleges, museums, and hospitals. For one thing, despite recent scandals about nonprofit executive compensation, the median salary for executive directors at charitable organizations was a mere $126,000 in 2011.

The vast majority of nonprofits, like the ones listed above, are 501(c)3 charitable organizations. However, the NFL, a multi-billion-dollar professional sports league, has a separate and less restrictive designation. Itís a 501(c)6, a status ordinarily reserved for business leagues and chambers of commerce. (It would be fair to ask why the designation exists at all, NFL or not.) As a 501(c)6, the NFL is able to participate in a wider range of political speech than a traditional charity, even if it sometimes demurs from doing so.

Thatís not to say that the tax status doesnít come with any restrictions. As a 501(c)6, the NFL isnít supposed to engage in business ďordinarily carried on for profit.Ē Apparently, licensing exorbitantly priced apparel, granting broadcast rights, and running an entire television network donít count as profitable endeavors.

Mind you, the NFL isnít alone. While professional football has been granted a unique status in the tax code, the National Hockey League and Professional Golfersí Association enjoy a similar status, as did Major League Baseball before it decided that it would rather keep its salaries private. And so, in addition to subsidizing stadiums, weíre stuck funding entire sports leagues.

Hopefully, Coburn will make some headway toward ending NFL welfare before the end of the year, when heís set to step down. Until then, weíll all be drinking beer and eating chips and yelling at the television, and paying dearly for the privilege. Go Seahawks, I guess.

27 Jan 14,, 17:13
Simply ridiculous...

Also a very fitting example of what "entertainment" is costing us in general. Instead of being informed, most citizens prefer to be ignorantly entertained at the expense of their future. If only irony weren't so biting...

Albany Rifles
27 Jan 14,, 17:42
Okay....lets parse this a bit.

Most leagues in the US are incoporated in a same manner.

Now go back and ask the question how much does each team pay? How much does each player pay? Executives?

I believe you will see those entities pay a lot. The NFL is not the corporation, the teams are.

27 Jan 14,, 19:42
So you say corporations should pay no taxes since companies and workers in them pay enough?