NFL: Taxpayers Insure Us or No Super Bowl

The NFL expects taxpayers to foot the bill for insurance so that they can make immense private profits on the Super Bowl.

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So here’s the story from Businessweek: “The Unexpected Threat to Super Bowl XLIX.”

If you’ve already bought tickets for Super Bowl XLIX or are looking forward to watching it with your friends and family, you may be surprised to learn that there is a chance it might not be played. Congress first needs to make a decision on renewing a piece of legislation that you possibly never have heard of: TRIA—the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

TRIA was signed into law in 2002 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, establishing a risk-sharing partnership between the federal government and the insurance industry that made terrorism insurance widely available to U.S. businesses—among them, organizers of sporting events. Without federal support, most insurers had been unwilling to offer coverage. TRIA was renewed in 2005 and in 2007. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress renews it. With two weeks until the deadline, the clock is ticking.

You may think: No way that the Super Bowl can be canceled! Think again. A few years ago FIFA, organizer of the World Cup, could not find insurers to cover the final game of the 2006 tournament at a cost it judged reasonable. FIFA was eventually able to structure a special financial instrument so the game could go on, but this took several months.

Even if my team had a chance (which it doesn’t) I say: Go ahead and cancel it.

[See also, “Dead Farmers Receiving Millions of Dollars In Subsidies.”]

This is a hollow threat and a cruel joke. The NFL is not going to risk losing all of the revenue of a Super Bowl, and the damage it would do to their product, to not have a game. In other words, if push comes to shove, they will find a creative way to get the needed coverage through private means, and the game will go on.

This is a simple matter of a despicable threat to gain yet another form of corporate welfare. All corporate welfare needs to end—to banks, to sports teams for stadiums and arenas, to corn growers for ethanol garbage, and everything else.

If a business claims it can’t survive without stealing from the taxpayers, then let it die. Period.