The NFL threatened legal action against establishments planning on throwing a Super Bowl party with a cover charge last week. According to the Associated Press, several hotel casinos in Las Vegas and various other locations nationwide received notice that if they did not cancel their party plans, the parties would be considered to be making “unauthorized use of NFL intellectual property.” For the NFL to choose to put a halt on something that is a common practice in bars without any prior warning hardly seems fair.
AP reported that the NFL determined if an establishment was in violation of copyright laws depending on the size of the establishment, whether guests were being charged or if the size of the television screen showing the game was larger than 55 inches. Spokesman for the NFL, Brian McCarthy, told AP that the NFL only became aware of these party plans recently. However, Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas’ mayor, contradicted McCarthy’s statement by telling AP that the city had been unfairly targeted and the NFL had allowed “a condition to exist for the past 10 years and then they want to change the rules two days before.”
An estimated 274,000 people were expected to travel to Las Vegas specifically to watch the Super Bowl. While some hotels gave out refunds and canceled the parties entirely, other hotels attempted to make last minute arrangements. The Palms, a hotel-casino located off the Vegas strip, had planned on throwing a party in one of its movie theaters. However, after receiving the notices from the NFL, Jim Hughes, The Palms’ general manager, said to AP that they decided to rent dozens of small TVs and give out free beer and hot dogs — a move that ultimately ends up costing, not making, money for the casino.
Event promoter for T&J Trust Todd Krohn estimated a $100,000-loss after having to cancel an event at The Orleans hotel-casino after receiving word Friday. “If the NFL had made this decision, why didn’t they give us 30 days notice?” Krohn told AP. “We wouldn’t have spent the money.”
When events come with a cover charge, it is usually to handle any fees associated with renting space or paying for catering at the event. The hotel-casinos that were affected by the notices were doing a service for tourists who couldn’t get tickets to the big game. A lot of places throw Super Bowl parties in a lot of different cities. Vegas was an easy target because the large sums of money that the hotel casinos would have made. It is understandable that the NFL tried to protect its assets, but to rain on the parade two days before the event not only hurts the profits of other industries but also upsets the fans that the NFL counts as their customers.