The NFL vs. Church

February 2, 2008 by

I guess tomorrow there’s some big game–the Super Bowl or something. They’re talking about it in the Church Marketing Lab and churches across the country are having parties–though perhaps warily.

Last year we talked about the NFL’s crackdown on church Super Bowl parties. It seems this year it’s more of the same. If your church’s Super Bowl party involves a screen larger than 55 inches, you could run afoul of the NFL.

And it all seems kind of stupid. Churches want to get a bunch of people together to have a good time (and tell them about Jesus, hope they come back to church, etc.), the NFL wants people to watch the Super Bowl (and the super commercials). Why can’t they come up with some kind of solution where everybody can win? We suggested a solution last year, but apparently nobody listened. Can’t we all just get along?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “The NFL vs. Church”

  • Matt West
    February 2, 2008

    I think the problem is that the NFL want ad money. The advertisers want ratings and the ratings come from the number of homes viewing the game. If churches are showing game to large groups of people.. then those people arent watching from home. Perhaps a solution to the problem is to encourage small groups of people to host parties in homes. Maybe the church can do something to supplement the party, but encourage your congregation to do some outreach on thier own.

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  • A.B. Dada
    February 3, 2008

    Matt: That’s actually not true. I have 2 friends who are Nielsen households, and they keep their diary of what they watch on TV, even if it isn’t at home. Yes, their TV has a “box” that detects what they’re watching at home, but if they leave, they can jot it down. Having a party at a congregation is NOT affecting advertising sales.
    This is pure cronyism and intervention by the State, and I personally want no part of it. The law is crooked, and I’ll happily continue to financially support and defend any organization who displays public airwaves on a large screen for the consumption of the public. I don’t even like football, but as long as it comes over public airwaves (and isn’t recorded and played back, which I understand is an obvious violation of most copyright law), it should be displayed in whatever format intended.
    One loophole that a few congregations I know have discussed is that they’re NOT showing the game on a 70″ TV, they’re showing it with a 3″ LCD projector. The display is 3″, so it is acceptable to the standard set. Just because the light happens to reflect off another larger surface is of no consequence, because the actual hardware is 3″. Works for me.

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  • Steve Young
    February 3, 2008

    A.B. Dada,
    The law may be unfair, but as Christians we are called to a higher standard. Many may say the tax system is unfair and not declare some earnings so as not to pay taxes. That’s also wrong. Unless the law is directly against God’s commands, we should abide by the law.

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  • Gene
    February 5, 2008

    Not that I think they’re being reasonable about it, either, but one argument that does hold some water is that some churches tend to not show the half time (and associated commercials), in no small part because of the wardrobe malfunction a couple years back. I gather some even want to skip the commercials in general because they consider some of them a little too racy for church. And therein lies the problem — ad money is what makes the TV world go ’round, and if people aren’t watching the ads (or the people who pay $90,000 / second for them even suspect people aren’t), there’s a perceived problem.

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