The Super Bowl Will Gross Half a Billion Dollars This Year, But the NFL Really Needs Your Free Labor

Aviana Willis

Maybe the NFL should also pass the hat for donations at this year's Super Bowl. (Philip Robertson / Flickr)

Americans love football — so much so that fans are willing to donate their time to the NFL, one of the wealthiest sports brands in the world, for the Super Bowl.

The NFL has again sent out the call for 10,000 volunteers for this year’s Super Bowl in Arizona. Apparently the league hosting the biggest-grossing sports event in the country can’t afford to hire any workers to staff it.

Most sports fans don’t know is that the NFL is considered a nonprofit organization, which allows it to receive millions in public funding. So you can think of volunteering for the league as kind of like donating your time to a local nonprofit in need, like a soup kitchen. A soup kitchen that brings in $500 million and pays its head, commissioner, Roger Goodell, over $40 million a year.

An investigation by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune revealed 153 pages of requests that the NFL has made for the site of the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, including a $500 million stadium financed by taxpayers. Other requests from the league, as detailed by NPR, include:

· The league gets every cent of ticket revenue

· 35,000 free parking spaces

· Free ads in local newspapers and on radio stations, and lots of free billboards (just so we’ll know the Super Bowl is in town)

· All ATMs at the stadium must be those with NFL-approved credit cards

· Free presidential suites in the top hotels

· If cellphone reception isn’t quite good enough around and about, then Minneapolis has to build the NFL sufficient new cellphone towers

· The NFL even unsuccessfully tried to demand the right to select the only vendors at the airport — the public airport — who could sell NFL merchandise

That’s a pretty bossy soup kitchen.

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Aviana Willis is a Fall 2014 editorial intern.
Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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