Daily Tax Report: State

Atlanta Super Bowl Tickets Are Tax Free, But Not Team Jerseys

Dec. 3, 2018, 8:40 PM

Football fans won’t have to pay sales tax on tickets to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta next February—a tax break potentially worth several hundred dollars per ticket that’s become standard for Super Bowl host cities and states.

Tickets for the game and related events hosted by the National Football League are exempt from state and local taxes, the Georgia Department of Revenue said in a Dec. 3 policy bulletin. Not included in the exemption are souvenir purchases, hotel room rentals, and concessions, although parking is routinely tax-free in Georgia.

The exemption also doesn’t cover events hosted by individual teams, which the department doesn’t count as affiliates of the NFL for tax purposes, according to the bulletin.

Georgia’s tax exemption on Super Bowl tickets is estimated to be worth $10 million, according to local press reports from 2016, when the state legislature approved the exemption. The NFL announced Atlanta as the host city for the Feb. 3 game a few weeks after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed the exemption into law.

Although the face value of Super Bowl tickets might dip below $1,000 in some cases, online resellers where many fans would have to buy tickets are already listing them at $3,500 and up. Without the exemption, ticket buyers would have had to fork out 8.9 percent more for the combined state and local sales tax rate in Atlanta. For a $3,500 ticket, that translates to an extra $311.50, assuming Georgia imposed tax on the full resale price.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has capacity to seat up to 75,000 fans.

A similar exemption could apply to other major sporting events slated for Atlanta, including the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament in 2020—depending on how state officials estimate the event’s economic impact.

The legislature drafted the exemption to apply to sporting events estimated to create at least a $50 million impact on the host city. It’s set to expire after 2022, if lawmakers don’t renew it.

A revenue department spokesman couldn’t immediately answer whether other events are expected to qualify.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Marr in Atlanta at cmarr@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bloombergtax.com; Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com

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