Many churches are preparing for one of their biggest evangelistic opportunities of the year–Super Bowl XLVII hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA on February 3, 2013.
The good news is that, as in the past several years, churches can host Super Bowl parties without fear of penalties and interference from the NFL for copyright infringement–IF they stay within certain boundaries. It’s still vital that church leaders follow important guidelines and rules to stay inside the playing field and make sure they avoid legal risks of infringement.
The Super Bowl has the largest economic impact of any regular human event with literally every demographic engaged in this annual national fervor. While churches don’t try to make money on The Big Game, they often promote events to view the classic clash as a great chance to engage in “friendship” evangelism.
CopyrightSolver recently had a chance to speak with an NFL representative regarding the NFL’s policies for churches that want to host viewing parties on February 3rd.
CopyrightSolver: “Many Churches enjoy gathering together to watch the Super Bowl each year, but they are unsure about necessary steps they must take in order to stay copyright compliant when doing so. What requirements must a church meet in order to host a “viewing party”?
NFL: “A church may hold their “viewing party” in its usual place of worship and must not charge a fee for attending such viewing party. If those requirements are met, the NFL will not object when a church has a party for its congregants to watch the Super Bowl together.”
A key point in the NFL’s response to churches is its allowance of a viewing party in its “usual place of worship”. This is an important qualification to understand. We understand that many churches do not have a typical church campus and many use rented public spaces to conduct worship services. Here is the NFL’s position on these situations.
CopyrightSolver: “Many churches that hold regular services meet in rented spaces (i.e. convention centers, hotel conference centers, movie theaters, and school auditoriums). Does your previously mentioned statement regarding “usual place of worship” also apply to churches in these situations?”
NFL: “No, the NFL’s grant of permission is with respect to the church property (not rented spaces).”