The Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indiana wants to have a Super Bowl party for their paritioners so that they can have a place to gather and watch their local football team in the big game. Projecting the game up on the wall would provide a safe place to watch the game where there would be no alcohol and could be attended by children. There’s only one problem, and that is the threat of a lawsuit from the NFL.

[…] The NFL objected to the church’s plans to use a projector to show the game, saying the law limits it to one TV no bigger than 55 inches. […] NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league’s long-standing policy is to ban “mass out-of-home viewing” of the Super Bowl. An exception is made for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations. We have contracts with our (TV) networks to provide free over-the-air television for people at home,” Aiello said. “The network economics are based on television ratings and at-home viewing. Out-of-home viewing is not measured by Nielsen.”

I think that that is a rediculous stance by the NFL. I can understand that they want to prohibit charging the parishioners entry to watch the game, and I can understand wanting to protect their trademark on the “Super Bowl” brand. However, I would think that they would want as many people as possible exposed to that brand as possible, not only for their game itself but also for their advertising.

They should be more mindful of teams like the California Golden Bears and Washington State, who got around the lack of television coverage in California by using a slingbox to broadcast the game for local fans that couldn’t travel. That is known as looking out for your constituency.

I hope that this story gets well publicized and that the NFL gets a lot of flack from it. I hope that they change their stance and allow Fall Creek Baptist Church to enjoy the game. But this is a commercial enterprise, and not being able to track some people that probably aren’t a part of the Nielson ratings anyway is apparently some great sin.

Update: According to The Christian Post, the NFL also has a problem with the church showing a recording of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith’s Christian testimonies. Apparently, the NFL does not want to have their games shown along with any sort of “message” no matter the content. Because advertising and commercials never have a message…(Thanks to David Peach for the Christian Post article; I had not seen that one yet.)

(Sources: Sports IllustratedLBDThe Christian Post)