The NFL has moved this year to stop church congregations from showing the game in their sanctuaries. The Washington Post has an article that describes the effect the enforcement is having in local congregations.
From the article:
"The Super Bowl, the most secular of American holidays, has long been popular among churches. With parties, prayer and Christian DVDs replacing the occasionally racy halftime shows, churches use the event as a way to reach members, and potential new members, in a non-churchlike atmosphere.
'It takes people who are not coming frequently, or who have fallen away, and shows them that the church can still have some fun,' said the Rev. Thomas Omholt, senior pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in the District. Omholt has hosted a Super Bowl party for young adults in his home for 20 years. 'We can be a little less formal.'
The NFL said, however, that the copyright law on its games is long-standing and the language read at the end of each game is well known: 'This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited.'
The league bans public exhibitions of its games on TV sets or screens larger than 55 inches because smaller sets limit the audience size. The section of federal copyright law giving the NFL protection over the content of its programming exempts sports bars, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
[...]Large Super Bowl gatherings around big-screen sets outside of homes shrink TV ratings and can affect advertising revenue, McCarthy said. "We have no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl parties as long as they . . . show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home," he said. "It is a matter of copyright law."
The same policy applies to all NFL games and to movie theaters, large halls and other venues with big-screen TVs, he said."
Read the rest here.