What would you call an organization that pulls in $9.5 billion a year in revenue and is one of the most successful entertainment enterprises ever created?

Our government calls it a non-profit.

The name of the organization? The National Football League, which is classified as a 501(c)6 industry association.

“Since the NFL is generally associated with wealthy owners and players, not to mention the tremendous revenue that each team generates year-round, the public would not be expected to know the League is a non-profit organization,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “With billions likely to flow from the Super Bowl, it would seem a contradiction that the organization behind it all would be technically a not-for-profit, but that is indeed true about the NFL.” (See “The Real Super Bowl Question …”)

CREDO Action, an online activist social change organization, has a petition out calling for a hearing regarding the NFL’s tax-exempt status. So far, nearly 140,000 people have signed the petition. You can sign the petition here (See “The National Football League Should Pay Taxes,”)

The pressure’s on the NFL. A couple months back, Senators Tom Coburn (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced a bill to pull the NFL’s tax-exempt status.

“This is a directed tax cut …, which means every other American pays a little bit more every year because we give the NFL league office a tax break and call them a non-profit,” says Coburn. “In fact, they’re not.”

They most definitely are not.

–Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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