Don’t Allow Pro Sports Franchises to Make Unfair Profits

Target: U.S. Senate

Goal: Hold money-making professional sports organizations responsible as private businesses

Currently, the NFL, the NHL, and both the women’s and men’s PGA are tax-exempt organizations, meaning they don’t have to pay federal income taxes on any earnings. Given the fact that the NFL is a franchise and pays each executive over five million a year, this seems criminal. Support lawmakers in their attempts to treat these money making organizations as for-profits.

Oklahoma Senator Tim Coburn has brought this issue forth to in a proposed amendment to the Marketplace Fairness Act. His amendment suggests that professional sports leagues should have to pay federal income taxes. The reason that pro sports organizations such as the NFL are currently able to file as tax-exempt is because they are acting in the general interest of sport and promotion of sport. This is great, idealistically, but in truth these organizations are acting only in self-interest. They operate as private businesses, not non-profits. As Travis Waldron of ThinkProgress aptly points out, “the NFL isn’t so much concerned about promoting the general sport of football as it is concerned with promoting NFL football, because it is the NFL brand and the NFL teams and logos and products that make it a profitable business.”

These pro-sports organizations make billions of dollars of profit a year, and because they are tax-exempt, tax paying citizens help them do so. In fact, over $91 million in tax dollars goes to the benefit of these organizations each year. This money goes to building over-the-top stadiums, overpaying executives, and funding grossly elaborate Super Bowls. It should be noted that if this amendment were to pass, these organizations would still be able to operate their charitable organizations as tax-exempt.

Hold professional sports organizations accountable as private businesses that work for their own benefit, not the benefit of the public. Urge the Senate to pass Senator Tim Coburn’s amendment that forbids these organizations from being tax-exempt.


Dear Senate Members,

Soon the Senate will review the Marketplace Fairness Act. During this review, Senator Coburn will present an amendment regarding professional sports organizations. He will argue that these organizations, which act like private businesses, should no longer be able to file as tax-exempt.

It is clear that organizations such as the NFL and PGA are profiting far more than the tax payers who help fund them are. The 2013 Super Bowl is a prime example of this. The New Orleans stadium had received over $470 million of public support since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, yet the Saints owner did not contribute a single dollar. Not to mention that the majority of non-profit executives make $50 thousand a year, whereas NFL executives make over five million.

I urge you to prevent tax payers from spending needless money and pass Senator Coburn’s amendment.


[Your Name Here]

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