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The NFL is a non-profit?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 jose melendez


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:30 PM

I just learned this. I know there are lots of non-profits that make bank, but can some law type person explain how this works, and why it's not an outrageous sham?

#2 Bowlerman9


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:36 PM

Why would the NFL need to turn a profit? Other than covering its own expenses and having a certain amount left in the kitty as an emergency fund, what purposes would the NFL have for having any cash? Pretty much every penny of "profit" goes to the individual teams.

#3 bowiac


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:38 PM

Knowing nothing of the NFL's structure, or really even tax law, I would assume that only the NFL itself is a non-profit. The actual teams are not. The NFL is probably functioning similarly to a chamber of commerce - they facilitate profit seeking entities (the teams), but are themselves a non-profit organization.

This is a fascinating little wrinkle in the NFL's Supreme Court case which is going to be heard this term however - the NFL is claiming that it is one entity rather than 32 different teams for antitrust purposes. Kind of hard to square that with the NFL being separate from the 32 different teams.



#4 Saints Rest

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:52 PM

The simplest definition of a not-for-profit is that there are no shareholders, people who make money on the success of the company via ownership in the entity. Thus all profits earned by the entity are poured back into the entity itself.

It has absolutely nothing to do with net income (i.e. profit) in an accouting perspective.

On a more philosophical level, NFP's are supposed to "contribute to society" on a qualitative level, e.g. arts, education, religion.

#5 epraz


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:49 PM

I agree with the other posters, and I don't know too much about the law of non-profits, but one thing I do know is that 501©(3) organizations (the tax status generally referred to when you're talking non-profits) need to avoid "private benefits." They have a mission (for example, preserving the environment), and while they can partner with others towards that mission, if they do too much that's seen as serving to benefit private entities (for example, NFL teams), the IRS will yank the 501©(3) status. I can't imagine the NFL is a 501©(3).

#6 jose melendez


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:58 PM

They're a 501© 6

Article seems to cover it in all of its sketchiness. The NFL wants to be tax exempt, but doesn't want to have to abide by non-profit disclosure rules.



#7 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:04 PM

Awesome link Jose. Thank you!

As a fanatical fan of MLB, I love when the NFL and NBA get rightfully savaged in the press. I hope Breyer, Alito, Roberts Scalia and Thomas are all Raiders fans.

#8 Harry Hooper


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:24 PM



"Every time I say it's a game, you say it's a business. Every time I say it's a business, you say it's a game."




#9 jose melendez


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE (Rough Carrigan @ Sep 28 2009, 08:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Awesome link Jose. Thank you!

As a fanatical fan of MLB, I love when the NFL and NBA get rightfully savaged in the press. I hope Breyer, Alito, Roberts Scalia and Thomas are all Raiders fans.

Wait, did those guys rule. This came up because I was in a public management class today and some one gave a presentation with a lead like "What do the Sierra Club, the Girl Scouts, the NFL and Catholic church all have in common. I assumed it was sexual deviance, but it turns out they're all non-profits. I spent the rest of the class looking up info on the NFL's status and starting this thread.

#10 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


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Posted 28 September 2009 - 11:44 PM

QUOTE (jose melendez @ Sep 29 2009, 02:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wait, did those guys rule. This came up because I was in a public management class today and some one gave a presentation with a lead like "What do the Sierra Club, the Girl Scouts, the NFL and Catholic church all have in common. I assumed it was sexual deviance, but it turns out they're all non-profits. I spent the rest of the class looking up info on the NFL's status and starting this thread.



If the Girl Scouts start getting into sexual deviancy in a big way please do let me know post haste. Clearly I'm too moral to be into the younger broads, but if I could get hold of some of the instructional videos made my den mommys in uniform well......hold all calls.