By any measure the Super Bowl is socialist from head to toe.
Start with the venue. Governments paid for over 80 percent of the new $750 million Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the Super Bowl venue. The Colts chipped in about 15 percent, an investment they probably recouped in inflated asset value the day the stadium opened. Governments are also covering the estimated $20 million a year in operating deficits.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The NFL itself is a government creation.
Back in 1961 Commissioner Pete Rozelle convinced Congress to grant anti-trust immunity to the NFL to allow it to negotiate with broadcast companies as a single entity. Its first contract with CBS proved so lucrative that each team had $332,000 in the bank at the beginning of the season, a sum that exceeded most team payrolls at the time. Flush with cash, team owners might have started a bidding war for players if a truly free market in labor prevailed.
But having eliminated a free market externally in the broadcast marketplace, this new government sanctioned monopoly proceeded to eliminate a free market internally in the labor marketplace. The NFL imposed a rule allowing any team losing a free agent to another team to receive something of equal value from that team. Few teams were willing to risk signing a high profile free agent only to see their own rosters depleted.
Free agency came about only in 1993 after a jury ruled in favor of the players in a restraint of trade lawsuit brought by a group of NFL stars. That verdict and the threat of a class action filed by Reggie White of the Philadelphia Eagles on behalf of all NFL players led the league to the bargaining table. Still the owners refused to allow a completely free market by demanding and receiving a salary cap.