The Orange Bowl: A 501(c)3 Non-Profit?

Posted by at 7:06PM

What you should know: The #4 Stanford football team is facing off against #13 Virginia Tech in the Discover Orange Bowl.

What you might not know: The Orange Bowl is hosted by the Orange Bowl Committee, a tax-exempt non-profit organization whose mission is as follows:

The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-member, primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida.

This sounds surprising for an event that generates huge amounts of money. Guidestar, the nonprofit database, reports that the Orange Bowl Committee has a total revenue of about 41 million dollars and expenses of about 34 million dollars. See graphic for full details.

However, not everything is peaches for the Orange Bowl Committee: the anti-BCS PlayoffPAC has filed a complaint with the IRS that the committee violated its 501(c)3 tax exempt status by treating its members as well as directors of other programs to a lavish Caribbean cruise. PlayoffPAC co-founder says:

This year’s Orange Bowl participants, Virginia Tech and Stanford, will again lose large sums. These loss payments aren’t just to keep the stadium lights on. They fund four-day Caribbean cruises for Bowl officials and athletic directors. If the BCS system actually served schools’ interests, BCS Bowl officials would cut these types of unnecessary costs rather than extract subsidies from cash-strapped colleges and universities.

If true, this would be particularly troubling for an organization that additionally receives, according to Guidestar, over a million dollars annually in government grants. (H/T Rob Reich for the story)

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