NFL Defends Stance Against Church's Super Bowl Plan

League Objects To Projector, Cites Copyright Law

The NFL is defending its stance against an Indianapolis church's plan to use a wall projector to show the Super Bowl on Sunday.

NFL officials spotted a promotion of Fall Creek Baptist Church's "Super Bowl Bash" on the church Web site last week and told the pastor to cancel the party, citing copyright laws.

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.

This week, 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."

It is also the reason no mass viewings are planned in large arenas like the RCA Dome or Conseco Fieldhouse.

On Friday, an NFL statement expanded on Monday's explanation, saying the league's policy is "nothing new."

"We are simply following copyright law and have done so with regard to any type of commercial establishment including hotels, theaters, museums, schools, arenas and others," the statement said.

The statement said the NFL "has absolutely no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl viewing parties as long as they do not charge admission and show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home."

Because of the NFL's stance, the Fall Creek Baptist Church and other churches around the country have canceled Super Bowl viewing parties.

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