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Enjoy the Super Bowl Without Fear of Copyright Infringement

The final playoff games are being decided, and you are planning your viewing party for the final showdown between the two remaining teams. It must be Super Bowl time. Many churches host a viewing party for the event, as it’s a great way to reach across all demographics and share your ministry through an evening of sports, food, and community. While it sounds like an easy way to entertain your congregation, make sure your event complies with the NFL copyright laws to avoid infringement and penalties.

In the past, churches were not allowed to host such events and faced possible legal action for doing so. In 2009, the rules loosened; and since then churches have been allowed to host these social gatherings with the following restrictions:

  1. The game must be shown live on equipment you use in your ministry. It cannot be a recording.
  2. Admission for the party cannot be charged. However, donations can be accepted in order to help pay for costs associated with your event.
  3. To avoid any copyright infringements, call the event “The Big Party” or some equivalent, rather than a “Super Bowl Party,” as the event may not be promoted with the use of any trademarked or protected intellectual property. This includes using any of the following:
    • NFL;
    • Super Bowl;
    • Team logos; and
    • Any team names (e.g., Giants, Patriots). The city names where the teams are located are allowed (e.g., New York, New England).

Hosting an event during the game can be a great way to bring those in your congregation closer together. Just be sure you adhere to these guidelines to avoid receiving your own personal foul from the NFL.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.