How To Make Sure Your Church 2013 Super Bowl XLVII Party Is Legal


American football

Thanks to the fine folks at CopyrightSolver for sharing this helpful information.

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).”

CopyrightSolver: “We also understand that it is important for churches not to use registered trademarks of the NFL in any promotional materials, including via social media or their website concerning the viewing party; which trademarks are most commonly used without permission? And how could they be properly licensed for use?”

NFL: “If a church is only using NFL marks and no logos to describe the party in materials distributed to its congregants, the NFL will not object. For example, you can refer to the party as the Super Bowl party and you can refer to the two teams participating (i.e., last year “New England Patriots vs. New York Giants”), but cannot use the NFL Shield, Super Bowl or Club logos.”

There are some important rules, however, to follow to avoid being tackled with risks of copyright infringement:

  1. Churches must show the game live on equipment they use in the course of ministry at their premises.
  2. Churches cannot charge admission for the party. The NFL has stated, however, that churches may take up a donation to defray the cost of the event.
  3. Do not use NFL Shield, Super Bowl or Club logos to promote your party.

CopyrightSolver: “Lastly, since the Super Bowl is on a Sunday evening, many churches may be unable to view the full game due to conflicts with established worship services. Could a church utilize a digital recording device to make a temporary copy of the game (such as a TiVo, DVR, etc.) so they could watch the game together in its entirety?

NFL: “Yes, the NFL will not object to this. Any additional uses outside the scope of the activities listed above would require permission and licensing from the NFL.”

If you have questions about this or any other copyright-related activity for your church, contact our Copyright Solvers at 1-855-5SOLVER (576-5837). Or log on to to access our knowledge base, fact sheets, blog and other informative resources. Originally published at: Republished with permission.