Super Bowl volunteers to get paid

November 19, 2013
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Indianapolis utilized 8,500 volunteers to host the 2012 Super Bowl. Not one of them got a penny for their time and effort.

That might not be the case if Indianapolis wins its bid to host the Super Bowl in 2018 or any other year.

Since the inception of the Super Bowl, there’s been a history of the host committee providing a wide range of volunteers to handle a variety of tasks—all at no charge to the host committee or the league.

But the NFL has been forced to call an audible in terms of using non-paid volunteers as the result of a class-action lawsuit brought against Major League Baseball for not compensating volunteers at its All-Star FanFest in July.

The lawsuit against the MLB has not yet been settled, but the NFL isn’t waiting to adjust its own game plan, deciding instead to hire and pay about 1,500 workers that are deemed essential to hosting the game.

For now it looks like the NFL will pick up the tab for the additional paid employees. That’s good news for host cities as the cost of those additional employees will probably be a low- to mid-level six figure sum.

At the 2014 Super Bowl in New York, the NFL will use staffing agencies to hire workers in the media center and the Super Bowl Village-like attraction known as Super Bowl Boulevard as well as people to provide hosting services at MetLife Stadium on game day and at the league’s pre-game VIP tailgate party, explained Frank Supovitz, NFL senior vice president of events.

Supovitz added that the changes were being made this year due to complexities in the New York-New Jersey market as well as the pending litigation against MLB.

Despite the addition of the paid workers, New York host committee officials still said they plan to use about 12,000 unpaid volunteers. Those volunteers will be required to sign a waiver which states they will not be a part of a class action lawsuit asking to be paid. The waiver states that if there is a dispute, it has to go through arbitration and not be taken to court or become part of a class-action lawsuit.

So far no one has balked at signing the waiver, said New York host committee officials, and there is no sign that the requirement to sign the waiver will stem the tide of volunteers coming forward.


 

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  • Fair
    It's is only fair that those helper get paid. I think the NFL should pay back pay for those who worked past Super Bowl games. The reason is simple. NFL and the hosting cities make a lot of money off of that even. How would it be fair that they get to use free labor. In fact I think it is against the our labor laws. I think volunteers is OK for grade schools and high schools but not pro sports or NCAA sports.
  • No Pay
    Its called Volunteering for a reason. You are volunteering for an event that you want to support. Labor laws? It is optional. If you pay these "volunteers" the cost trickles down to the cities and patrons. If you want to get paid, find a JOB, not a volunteering opportunity.
  • Indy Super Bowl
    For the Super Bowl held in Indianapolis, I believe organizers said the 8500 volunteers were expected to work an average of eight hours each. At double the minimum wage, this would have cost the NFL less than what Peyton Manning makes for playing in just ONE game.
  • VOLUNTEER
    A volunteer is one who offers their time and services for no monetary compensation.
  • Made Money
    Sparky, probably need to look at the numbers again, the city actually lost money during the Super Bowl. Steve, the NFL doesn't pay Manning, the Broncos do. If you call them volunteers, there is no expectation of compensation so labor laws don't apply.
    • Volunteering
      I was a volunteer for the 2012 Super Bowl and I can tell you that I never felt the need to be compensated. The excitement of the event, plus with all the free items that we received (t-shirts, hats, coats, and that coveted blue and white scarf)more than made up for the time that I gave. I was proud that I had a little part in such a momentous event in Indianapolis and would be proud to do it again in 2018!
    • iuhoosier1992
      I meant to say what Peyton "made", since at the time, he was still here. I know that the NFL does not pay him; I was using his salary numbers to give perspective. I believe your interpretation about "volunteers" may not be 100% correct. There have been recent cases about unpaid interns that are testing that. I just find it ironic that the NFL asks for volunteers in order to put on an event that they charge thousands of dollars for tickets to attend, millions for companies to advertise during, and pay players salaries adding up to well over a billion dollars per year.
    • Happy Volunteer
      I was very happy to volunteer for the 2012 Super Bowl! It was an honor to be able to represent our city and act as an ambassador. I worked 7 different days and even took vacation time to do so. I volunteer at many different events throughout the city and have never once given thought to not being paid. That is why we are called volunteers!! I started volunteering with the Pan Am Game activities in 1986 and have loved doing it ever since. If you think you need to be paid, no one is forcing you to sign up! Indy has a great volunteer force and that is just one reason why we get the chance to host all of these wonderful events. I'm proud to be one of the thousands of volunteers that Indy knows it can count on to make these events successful!! Go Indy!!!!

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