Federally funding the NFL started in 1961 when Congress permitted the act of football teams coming together to go over television and radio broadcasts. An act instated by President John F Kennedy, included an approval by Congress for the NFL-AFL merger.
In the same year, the IRS stepped in and revised its definition of non-profit entities to include “professional football leagues.” With this special treatment in the Internal Revenue Code, NFL headquarters are excused from owing $10 million annually.
Since 1997, the NFL has resourced $4.7 billion in taxpayers’ money toward stadium renovations and pumps a generous $700 million in government subsidies towards new stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta.
In regards to state funds, former Virginia senator Bob McDonnell promised $4 million to nurse the Redskins facility in Loudon County, Virgina. The taxpayers in Ohio continue to rot their wallets because of the Bengals and Reds stadium in the late-90s, which requires $43 million a year for maintenance.
But in recent months, reports surfaced about 14 NFL teams receiving – and accepting – endowments via National Guard units. It’s estimated that $5.4 million has been allocated over three years (2011-2014), with the Atlanta Falcons absorbing $1 million.
According to an investigation posted on nj.com, the National Guard and the NFL have quietly orchestrated a trade of goods and services amongst their institutions.
The process is this: the National Guard implants $200,000 (the Colts share in ’15-16) into an NFL team and in return, the organization fakes itself as a whole-hearted supporter of the Armed Forces.
In 2011, the Jets accepted $377,000 from the New Jersey National Guard to honor soldiers. The Air Force has also issued money to the NFL. In 2012, they arranged $20,000 checks to the Colts and Vikings.
In opposition to the circulating hullabaloo, the NFL defends its relationship with the Armed Forces. The NFL distributes over $4 million in its Salute to Service merchandise, along with $500,000 in aid towards an Army medical research lab.
In 2014, the DOD had $49.1 million directed towards sports sponsorships. But in revolution of these accusations, the Department of Defense is decreasing its association in sports sponsorship. In fact, the agency squashed a $32.2 million deal it held with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports