Music critic: Why is the NFL a non-profit?

Posted on: February 12, 2014

“I was stunned, disgusted and ultimately saddened to learn today that the National Football League enjoys tax-exempt status,” writes Philip Kennicott in Monday’s (2/10) Washington Post, noting that the NFL’s 32 teams bring in a combined $9.5 billion in annual revenue. “It seems to me that the tax exempt status should be revoked entirely…. 25 years ago when I was first writing about the arts for newspapers, the NFL was used by editors as a touchstone….  Stories about art, classical music or dance rarely made the front page, but football was there every Monday … When editors asked … why bother reviewing a concert if … nobody could get tickets to it after it happened, you would patiently explain to them that it was just like a football game…. Arts organizations were always much more genuinely ‘local’ than most sports teams. Orchestra musicians or museum curators put down roots in communities, leading middle-class lives fully woven into the warp and woof of the city.… NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s $30 million salary … is almost twice the annual budget of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which has been forced to cut players and plead for money to avoid shutting down after a $2 million budget shortfall in 2013…. Football would be a much more dynamic and interesting community event if it was run as a genuine non-profit, and ordinary people could afford season tickets.”

Posted February 12, 2014