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Commentary: It’s time to give the Super Bowl back to the fans

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Let’s take a minute to recognize all the 12s out there who went online this week, only to realize the fortune they’d have to spend to attend a Super Bowl.

Plain and simple: It’s just not right.

The fact that face value tickets start at $800 is ludicrous – and only a tiny fraction of Seahawks season ticket holders who won a lottery had the privilege of paying that little. The secondary market forces fans to spend thousands of dollars on admission to the game. According to SeatGeek, the average is close to three thousand per ticket, with a starting price close to two thousand apiece.

It’s price gouging at its finest – and worst of all, the fans are paying the price, while the NFL enjoys tax exemptions from the host city.

In fact, how many of you know that the league office is tax exempt, operating just like a tax-free non-profit?

To clarify – taxes ARE paid for by individual teams and NFL Ventures, which collects the billions of revenue from TV contracts, game tickets, jersey sales and national sponsorships. But the league office – the organizing entity that sets the rules and schedules, pays the officials, and administers various league events like this week’s Super Bowl – is tax exempt.

I don’t care how much or how little money we’re talking about – that’s just a terrible look.

Especially for a league that paid its commissioner $74 million over the past two years. And especially for an administration that’s looked downright silly in its handling of everything from domestic violence issues to player conduct enforcement.

Sure, let’s fine Marshawn Lynch a $100,000 for not talking to the media, but let’s not pay a dime on the $255 million our league office made in 2011!

If the league office has the same tax rules as a non-profit, it’s time to give the Super Bowl back to its fans. The hardcore fan should no longer be priced out of the game, nor pay their life savings to attend.

The NFL brings in $9.5 billion a year – I’m sure they could sacrifice a portion of that to allow more Regular Joes into the stadium, rather than all the corporate suits and their friends.

As Jordan Weissman of Slate.com says: “It’s about principles. Letting the NFL (league office) operate tax-free makes a mockery of the entire concept behind non-profits, which is that we should give a special break to organizations that do the useful, unprofitable work normal corporations don’t.”

Obviously, none of this should take away from the enjoyment of the Seahawks playing in their second straight Super Bowl this week. But it’s time Roger Goodell stood up for the fans.

Pete Carroll might throw his challenge flag next Sunday, but it’s far past time to put the current Super Bowl ticket allotment and pricing under further review.

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1 Comment

  • Phil Johnson

    What percentage of people that bought Super Bowl tickets at “reasonable” prices would just turn around the sell them for as much as possible?