Sports Outside the Beltway

Church Super Bowl Party Cancelled…by the NFL

Warning: If you are hosting friends for the Super Bowl and you are going to use more than one TV or a really big TV, read on and be afraid.

The NFL is telling Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis that the church’s plans to use a wall projector to show the game at a party for church members and guests would violate copyright laws.

NFL officials spotted a promotion of Fall Creek’s “Super Bowl Bash” on the church Web site last week and sent pastor John D. Newland a letter — via FedEx overnight — demanding the party be canceled.

Initially, the league objected to the church’s plan to charge partygoers a fee to attend and that the church used the license-protected words “Super Bowl” in its promotions.

Newland told the NFL his church would not charge partygoers — the fee had been intended only to pay for snacks — and that it would drop the use of the forbidden words.

But the NFL wouldn’t bite. It objected to the church’s plans to use a projector to show the game on what effectively was a 12-foot-wide screen. It said the law limits the church to one TV no bigger than 55 inches.

The NFL, fairly or not, has acquired the moniker the No Fun League. This incident is confirmation of that. What does this say about sports bars, that have numerous televisions and charge for drinks and food?

H/T: Brian Wilmer, of the Writer’s Radio network.

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I’m pretty sure sports bars have to pay a licensing fee to the League.

Strange on the 55 inch limit, though, as many of us have screens larger than that in our homes these days. I always though there had to be a commercial activity for that to matter.

Posted by James Joyner | February 3, 2007 | 07:15 am | Permalink

Sports Bars DO NOT have to pay anything to the NFL. The Super Bowl is a public broadcast and people should have the right to view it wherever they want. Church Super Bowl Parties have been a tradition for many years now, and everyone knows about it. Why is the NFL making trouble now? Church Super Bowls have contributed positively to the popularity of the annual event, so they create a positive monetary advantage to the NFL, not a negative one. Legally, this means the NFL has no leg to stand on because in order to sue, they must prove that these parties cause the NFL to loose money.

Posted by Mark Sommer | February 4, 2007 | 03:12 pm | Permalink

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