Will the NFL Shut Down Your Church's Super Bowl Party?

Many churches reach out to their communities by hosting game day parties, because it’s a great opportunity for fun and fellowship.


In 2007, the NFL made churches think twice by sending a cease-and-desist letter to an Indianapolis church, ordering it to cancel a “Super Bowl Bash” party for 400 members. The NFL cited copyright infringement as the reason for contacting the church.

Party On, with a Few Precautions

The 2007 incident received a great deal of attention. As a result, the NFL clarified its stance and granted churches permission to show the game as long as they follow a few specific guidelines:

  • The game must be shown on equipment the church regularly uses. If the church owns a big screen and sound equipment for Sunday worship services, the game can be shown using this equipment.

  • The church cannot charge admission for the party. However, it may accept donations to defray the cost of food and other supplies.

  • To eliminate the risk of copyright infringement, the church may want to call its event something other than “Super Bowl Party.” For example, “Big Game Bash.” (Source: David Middlebrook, the Church Law Group) The Church Law Group produced a YouTube video that explains the above guidelines in more detail. View the video.

Hope you have a great party!

Reference: Used with permission from Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

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