NPR logo

Nonprofit NFL Seeks Super Bowl Volunteers, Again

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/356135419/356302596" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Nonprofit NFL Seeks Super Bowl Volunteers, Again

Nonprofit NFL Seeks Super Bowl Volunteers, Again

Nonprofit NFL Seeks Super Bowl Volunteers, Again

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/356135419/356302596" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Super Bowl volunteer Ben Schreiber distributes fan guides for Super Bowl XLVI festivities in 2012. Chad Ryan/CSM/Landov hide caption

toggle caption Chad Ryan/CSM/Landov

Super Bowl volunteer Ben Schreiber distributes fan guides for Super Bowl XLVI festivities in 2012.

Chad Ryan/CSM/Landov

That familiar old preface we so often hear — usually from long-winded people — is: "To make a long story short." I've noticed lately that that expression has become more common, but, to make a long story short, it's been shortened to just "long story short." I'll even bet it's gotten initialed in the text universe to LSS.

Well, long story short, last year I was astonished to discover that guileless fans were actually volunteering their services, for free, gratis, to the Super Bowl — which, of course, makes a gazillion million dollars for the NFL and its gracious owners. Now, incredibly, the NFL is looking for 10,000 volunteers to donate their time and effort to this season's Super Bowl in Arizona.

Of course, I want you to keep in mind that the NFL is officially a nonprofit, even though commissioner Roger Goodell makes in excess of $40 million a year. (Lord knows what they'd pay him if he actually was doing a good job.) Of all the great, needy charities in the world, desperate for volunteers, who, in their right mind, would pick the Super Bowl?

The 2018 Super Bowl has been awarded to Minneapolis, and thanks to superb investigative work by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a 153-page list of stipulations that the league demanded has been revealed. Here are just some of the NFL demands for what it trumpets as "America's unofficial holiday":

  • The league gets every cent of ticket revenue
  • 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free ads in local newspapers and on radio stations, and lots of free billboards (just so we'll know the Super Bowl is in town)
  • All ATMs at the stadium must be those with NFL-approved credit cards
  • Free presidential suites in the top hotels
  • If cellphone reception isn't quite good enough around and about, then Minneapolis has to build the NFL sufficient new cellphone towers
  • The NFL even unsuccessfully tried to demand the right to select the only vendors at the airport — the public airport — who could sell NFL merchandise

And the greed goes on and on. Worth keeping in mind, too, that the new Minneapolis stadium is costing about $500 million in taxpayer money with a sweetheart deal for the owners. Last year I said I was amazed that anybody would volunteer for the NFL. Now, it's simple to declare: If you people in Arizona volunteer for this season's Super Bowl, you're suckers.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.