that would strip the NFL of its tax exemption on its face. The PRO Sports Act would prohibit any professional sporting league generating more than $10 million annually from filing as a nonprofit organization. “In this case, working Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues. This is hardly fair,” said Coburn. “This would help give all Americans, not just athletes and owners, a break and pave the way for the kind of tax reform and job creation our economy desperately needs.” The Way Action With all of the castigating finger-wagging at the NFL, what is the likelihood that it does lose its status? Jeffrey Tenenbaum, a Washington D.C. attorney who is the Chair and Partner of the Nonprofit Organizations group at Venable LLP, says the “legislation is largely for political posturing,” and he personally does not “think that it has a great chance of being enacted it into law anytime soon.” Though he believes that the bills may not be passed, he did
note that it the NFL’s tax-exempt status could be revoked by the IRS. The IRS would have to bring an audit, go through “an examination and determine that their exempt status should be revoked for whatever multiple reasons that they might come to that conclusion.” It is important to note that only the league office is tax exempt. NFL Ventures is a separate entity that oversees sponsorships, merchandise sales and television contracts. The money generated is distributed evenly among the 32 teams, which all pay taxes. The league office collects tax-exempt dues from the teams to cover overhead and operation. The overhead, by the way, does not exclude the $44 million salary to the commissioner. The league will continue to lobby Congress on this issue. Last quarter, the NFL spent over $550,000 lobbying on issues ranging from internet gambling and player health and safety, to issues related to the PRO Sports Act and tax exemption. Despite Congress’ ability to pass any of the bills, it continues to nurture unwanted attention that grows into unequivocal resentment that the NFL urgently needs to escape.
NFL OFFICES Structure: Tax Exempt Money Collected: Money collected in form of
dues paid by “members”
Objective: Purpose is to further the interest of its industry. Dues collected go to overhead costs and support of the “industry.”
Structure: For Profit
Structure: For Profit
Money Collected: Revenue generated from television deals, corporate sponsorship merchandise sales, etc
Money Collected: Revenue shared equally from NFL Ventures and also generated through stadium expenses
Objective: Purpose is to generate revenue for the teams through contracts, sponsorships, and merchandise.
Objective: Purpose is solely to generate wealth.