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As I prepare to watch the game, I thought a reminder of just how much of the NFL owes its existence to taxpayer money was in order.  This isn't a long diary, but a reminder:

Let's start with football stadiums
1.  71% of the cost of NFL stadiums is paid for by the taxpayers.  As the Atlantic noted regarding Cincinnati : "Pro-sports subsidies exceeded the $23.6 million that the county cut from health-and-human-services spending in the current two-year budget (and represent a sizable chunk of the $119 million cut from Hamilton County schools)."
2.  A number of NFL team's stadium deals are so good they are guaranteed a profit before the kick-off.
3.  The Seahawks are owned by Billionaire Paul Allen.  You can't beat the deal he got:

CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Seahawks play, opened in 2002, with Washington State taxpayers providing $390 million of the $560 million construction cost. The Seahawks, owned by Paul Allen, one of the richest people in the world, pay the state about $1 million annually in rent in return for most of the revenue from ticket sales, concessions, parking, and broadcasting (all told, perhaps $200 million a year).
4.  The field the game is going to be played at was supposed to be built completely by private money.  Ah, but one article noted:
Super Bowl XLVIII is on track to cost New Jersey residents big. The state might not have given direct tax breaks for the stadium, but it did donate valuable land for the construction of training facilities for the Giants and Jets and allocated $250 million for related construction costs. And while the NFL claims that the Super Bowl will bring $550 million to the region, economists warn it's "dubious math." That's not to mention the $17.7 million and counting costs to taxpayers, as the transit authority adds more trains, security and a fleet of garbage collectors.
The NFL is a not-for profit corporation, whose President makes $29 million a year.
As the Atlantic notes:
That’s right—extremely profitable and one of the most subsidized organizations in American history, the NFL also enjoys tax-exempt status. On paper, it is the Nonprofit Football League.

This situation came into being in the 1960s, when Congress granted antitrust waivers to what were then the National Football League and the American Football League, allowing them to merge, conduct a common draft, and jointly auction television rights. The merger was good for the sport, stabilizing pro football while ensuring quality of competition. But Congress gave away the store to the NFL while getting almost nothing for the public in return.

Some charity!
 Corporate purchases of tickets are tax free
About 25% of tickets at the Super Bowl will go to "Corporate Sponsors".  Remember, the people attending the game on those tickets aren't paying a dime, and the cost of those tickets is being deducted as a business expense by the corporation themselves.  Many of the 1% will fly their corporate jet for free and go to the game for free using corporate assets whose use is a business deduction.

So while you enjoy the game today, and I will be watching, take a moment to remind yourself just how much of that game was brought to you by the taxpayers AKA you!

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Comment Preferences

  •  panem et circem (8+ / 0-)

    They've got to distract their populace of serfs from thinking about their abject, wretched, miserable existence. If that happened, the serfs might think about rebelling against their corporate overlords. That's why our government pays for the NFL.

    This is what we have instead of the Coliseum. Less blood, more long-term brain damage.

    But all this talk about class war and history is making my head hurt. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??!!??!!

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 09:09:05 AM PST

  •  NFL teams are for profit and pay taxes (5+ / 0-)

    There has been lots of confusion on this issue the past week. The headquarters function of the Association is not for profit, but the 32 member teams are for profit and pay taxes. The way the NFL works (each major professional sport is different) is that the revenues all go to the teams. In turn the teams pay an association fee to the umbrella, headquarters unit. The NFL runs the umbrella at an annual loss so it really doesn't matter if it is taxable or not.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 09:32:21 AM PST

    •  But you're acknowledging the point, I would hope, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      that the "private" NFL is heavily subsidized by the PUBLIC taxpayers across the country, via all the methods listed above. It's about as "private" as the military industrial complex, and about as big a fat waste of precious public tax resources as well.

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:23:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kombema - I agree that the NFL, and many of its (0+ / 0-)

        teams, are highly subsidized by taxpayers. The subsidies are primarily given by local governments where voters can most easily change politicians, and policy.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:36:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not just: Federal tax exemption could be lifted as (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          well by Congress, saving the taxpayers tens of millions (or more) in lost revenue. It's a well-subsidized and/or exempt collusive operation at every level of government -- though certainly a major part due to corrupt or naive local politicians and populations looking for their bread and circus.

          How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers

          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Kombema on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 01:07:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope there is no revenue there for the Treasury (0+ / 0-)

            The NFL runs the headquarters unit at a loss so even if it was taxable there would be no tax due. There has been a big hoopla about this issue this week, even a White House petition. It all makes no sense, if there are no profits (or "surplus" in not for profit terms) there will be no tax. I don't know where this nonsense that there are tens of millions of tax revenue available came from. Obviously it came from someone who has never looked at the NFL's tax filings.

            All the revenues are sent to the teams, which are for profit and pay taxes. In turn the teams pay fees to the Association, but not quite enough to create a profit.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:32:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Head cracking socialists, I guess. (5+ / 0-)

    Along similar lines, I find it interesting to note where the advertising money comes from for football.  Today will be more diverse than usual, but based on what I see, the lion's share of football advertising comes from carbon-spewing automobiles, numbing alcoholic beverages, and escapist movies and other media.  Bread and circus.

    Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

    by geomoo on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 09:59:56 AM PST

  •  The Stupor Bowl is the biggest propaganda (5+ / 0-)

    show on earth.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:54:51 AM PST

    •  BigAl - as far as I know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt

      no one is required to watch the Super Bowl.

      Many people revel in the fact that they are able to do other things that are usually crowded, without all those other people around.

      Me, I'll be hosting a Super Bowl event but limited to guests who have deep knowledge of the game.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:15:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of my friends are having parties, too. (4+ / 0-)

        It's the "thing to do" on Super Bowl Sunday.  But very few will have a deep knowledge of the game.  On the other hand, they have deep knowledge of the food and drink they'll partake in ;)

        Me, I'll be hosting a Super Bowl event but limited to guests who have deep knowledge of the game.

        Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

        by gooderservice on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:23:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Course not, and as far as knowledge of the game, (4+ / 0-)

        I'm like, way up there. I was a jock, small college All American, played pro in Europe.  So I love sports, but propaganda is propaganda.  
        I'll watch the game, but I'll know the propaganda when I see it too.  Unfortunately most won't.

        "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:34:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If it weren't presented in a compelling manner, (6+ / 0-)

        it wouldn't be propaganda, would it?  I bet the Roman gladiatorial contests were incredibly entertaining.  As to "deep knowledge of the game", I wish the populace knew 1% as much about what the US military is doing around the world, a military that surely will be celebrated as part of these festivities, as they know about sports news.

        I love football.  I spend quite a bit of time watching it.  I'll be watching this game.  But I see the propaganda for what it is.

        Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

        by geomoo on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:50:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  For those who don't like the super bowl there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Kombema

    are always the fun filled commercials. Probably the most entertaining thing on TV the entire year.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:19:11 AM PST

    •  The Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl are highly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt

      entertaining alternatives, as well (Animal Planet and Disney Channel, respectively), to the "bread and circus" of the Stupor Bowl noted above.

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:27:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of good puns, too, like "illegal retriever (0+ / 0-)

      downfield!"

      And correction: Hallmark Channel for Kittens:
      http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/...

      http://www.animalplanet.com/...

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read kos current diary. NFL also a toilet bowl for (0+ / 0-)

        taxes being flushed down the goodbye commode.

        We built the stadiums, the NFL pays no taxes, poor people can't afford to go, rich people go for free. All to watch top athletes throw away their brains. Oh well. Puppy parties and kitten parties are always fun.

        I think kos is nicer about it than I am.

        Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

        by 88kathy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:12:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  But aren't the individual teams of the NFL (0+ / 0-)

    taxable entities? That's where all the money is. The NFL itself can easily be restructured to run a loss every year. This issue is a waste of time.

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