Friday, February 01, 2008

NFL Pulls Plug On Big-Screen Church Parties For Super Bowl -

NFL Pulls Plug On Big-Screen Church Parties For Super Bowl -
"For years, as many as 200 members of Immanuel Bible Church and their friends have gathered in the church's fellowship hall to watch the Super Bowl on its six-foot screen. The party featured hard hitting on the TV, plenty of food -- and prayer.

But this year, Immanuel's Super Bowl party is no more. After a crackdown by the National Football League on big-screen Super Bowl gatherings by churches, the Springfield church has sacked its event. Instead, church members will host parties in their homes.

Immanuel is among a number of churches in the Washington area and elsewhere that have been forced to use a new playbook to satisfy the NFL, which said that airing games at churches on large-screen TV sets violates the NFL copyright."
This is not exactly new, but the NFL is starting to get litigious about churches that host parties, many of which collect food for local food banks in association with the event. These "Souper Bowl" parties encourage each attendee to bring a food item for the needy, but do not charge any kind of admission.

The NFL is suffused with arrogance and greed from the players on up to those who breathe the rarefied air of the sky boxes. I can't see how even church groups numbered in the hundreds can cut into NFL profits. If nothing else, there are more warm bodies viewing the advertising.

Fortunately the ban extends only to television sets greater than 55 inches. I suppose this will have to be adjudicated, though. Are we talking nominal size or actual size? Do we use the diagonal measurement or the horizontal? What about digital versus analog?

If you use a digital projector, you'll just have to use the zoom feature to bring it in just under 55 inches or you may just receive a letter from the NFL.....

I don't have a dog in this fight (although, to be honest, it wouldn't bother me to see the Patriots get their 19th win this season). Beyond that, I think I will check in every so often to see the score, and ignore the game otherwise. Pretty much as I've been doing for several years now. When I go to a Super Bowl gathering it's for the friends, fellowship and food. The game is secondary.

Oh well. I'm starting off February in a rather curmudgeonly way. It must be the snowstorm.


MB said...

The NFL just doesn't get it. Do they think that church's "charge admission?" I think some of those NFL people have never been to a church or a "Souper Bowl" party. Like you said, most people come together for fellowship and food. How can the NFL monitor how big the screen will be anyway? So much for mixing sports and religion!

Denis Hancock said...

Well, I watched the last 5 minutes of the game, and I listened carefully to the voiceover at the end where they laid down the law. It seems that publishing an account of the game violates the NFL copyright (at least in their minds).