From Think Progress:
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) today introduced an amendment to the Marketplace Fairness Act that would end the practice of allowing professional sports leagues to qualify as tax-exempt organizations, a move that would hit leagues like the National Football League, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour, and the National Hockey League, among others.~In his 2012 Waste Book that chronicled government waste, Coburn said that taxpayers were losing as much as $91 million a year subsidizing professional sports leagues because of their non-profit status:The National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) classify themselves as non-profit organizations to exempt themselves from federal income taxes on earnings. Smaller sports leagues, such as the National Lacrosse League, are also using the tax status. Taxpayers may be losing at least $91 million subsidizing these tax loopholes for professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits. Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit, while claiming to be non-profit organizations.
Senator Coburn (R-NE)The 501(c)(6) provision, specifically amended in 1966 to add “professional football leagues,” states that “[n]o part of a business league’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual and it may not be organized for profit to engage in an activity ordinarily carried on for profit.” That would seem a hard standard for most professional leagues to meet, given the amount of revenue they make and the benefits they provide to the people involved. Individual team owners, in fact, benefit substantially from the league’s structure and even its classification as a non-profit organization.
While I disagree with Senator Coburn on about 99% of issues, this would be in the 1% where we are on the same page.