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Super Bowl Clean Zones

Super Bowl XLV is this coming Sunday, February 6, 2011.  If you want to know exactly how long from now that is, well there’s a ticker on the top right hand side of the Super Bowl website that will tell you down to the second how much longer you have to wait, presumably till kickoff.

In anticipation of the Super Bowl, which is being held at Cowboys Stadium, several cities in the North Texas Region including Arlington, Dallas, and Forth Worth, have implemented “clean zones,” within which the following is prohibited:

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1. Construction or use of any temporary shelter visible from any public street, public property, or sidewalk, unless approved by the NFL;

2. Construction or use of any temporary shelter visible from any public street, public property, or sidewalk, unless approved by the NFL, excluding tents for 500 or fewer persons that is not open to the general public and is erected adjacent to and used by a business with a valid Certificate of Occupancy;

3. Commercial use or display of a costume or mascot sign on public street, public property or sidewalk;

4. Outdoor sale or distribution of food or merchandise to the public (used in its broadest sense) visible from any public street, public property or sidewalk . . .;

5. The outdoor distribution to the public of commercial flyers or material, goods or wares that are visible from any public street, public property or sidewalk . . . ;

6. Outdoor advertising displays, including, but not limited to, portable signs, flags, streamers, pennants, banners, decorative flags, video screens, balloons, electronic message boards, nighttime projections of commercial messages, inflatables and building wraps visible from a public street, public property or sidewalk . . . ;

7. Except as approved by the NFL, temporary vending including, but not limited to, the soliciting, selling or offering of food, wares, services or other items and activities . . . [/framed_box]

At least in the city of Fort Worth, the Mayor and City Council approved this language on December 14, 2010 as part of the following temporary ordinance:

[framed_box]AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING CERTAIN ACTIVITIES WITHIN PROTECTED AREAS IN CONNECTION WITH ACTIVITIES RELATED TO SUPER BOWL XLV IN THE CITY; PROVIDING THAT THIS ORDINANCE SHALL BE CUMULATIVE OF ALL ORDINANCES; PROVIDING A SAVINGS CLAUSE; PROVIDING A SEVERABILITY CLAUSE; PROVIDING A PENALTY CLAUSE; PROVIDING FOR PUBLICATION; AND NAMING AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF JANUARY 23, 2011 AND AN EXPIRATION DATE OF FEBRUARY 7, 2011[/framed_box]

The preamble (those clauses beginning with WHEREAS) states that there has never been a Super Bowl in the North Texas Region, that the Super Bowl will enhance the worldwide renown and prestige of the area while creating temporary jobs and revenue.  It also states that the NFL has;

[framed_box]related to the City of Fort Worth experiences in other cities where failure to regulate temporary structures, outdoor sale/distribution of merchandise and temporary outdoor advertising displays visible from public streets or sidewalk in the vicinity of Super Bowl related events resulted in pedestrian and vehicular traffic issues that caused traffic and pedestrian safety problems, obscured lines of sight and affected public safety operations . . . ; [/framed_box]

Now, I can see where some of the “clean zone” prohibitions relate to traffic and safety concerns, but others (any structure “visible from the street,” for example) seem more like a means by which the NFL / NFL Sponsors can gain temporary regional domination.  I am sure Federal Marshals will be on hand in the parking lot and in the clean zones to seize any infringing merchandise, but is it really necessary to prevent the dancing pizza from boogying down outside Tony’s Pizzeria?

If your business model involves selling or promoting “unauthorized goods of others,”  the law calls that counterfeiting.  Counterfeiting is only a good resume builder if you’re aiming for prison.  I certainly don’t recommend it, especially  not in the parking lot, or the “clean zone” of any entertainment event.

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