The first Super Bowl was historic for, like, 173,564 different reasons. One of those was the fact that it was the only Super Bowl that was broadcast on two television networks, as both CBS and NBC aired the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers ended up winning, 35-10, and the biggest sporting event in the United States was born.
There was just one problem: neither CBS nor NBC saved any recordings of the game. The NFL didn’t do this, either. In fact, there is only one known recording of the game, and it is owned by Troy Haupt, a nurse anesthetist who lives in North Carolina. According to the New York Times, Haupt’s biological father inexplicably recorded the game, and his copy sat in the family’s home in Pennsylvania for years, and this year the son tried selling this unusual treasure to the NFL.
Haupt’s original offer to the league was $1 million, which was the estimated value Sports Illustrated said the tapes were worth back in 2005. The NFL rejected Haupt and presented its first and only offer: $30,000. Naturally, he turned that down and immediately went to CBS, which gave him a pretty good offer of “an interview for a pregame segment for this year’s game, $25,000, and two tickets to this Sunday’s game.”
That deal fell through reportedly because the NFL stepped in and nixed it, which the league denied. Still, according to the Times, if Haupt tries to sell his recording, the league is going to sue him.
If the league refuses to buy it, he cannot sell the tapes to a third party, like CBS or a collector who would like to own a piece of sports history that was believed to be lost.
“Since you have already indicated that your client is exploring opportunities for exploitation of the N.F.L.’s Super Bowl I copyrighted footage with yet-unidentified third parties,” Dolores DiBella, a league counsel, wrote, “please be aware that any resulting copyright infringement will be considered intentional, subjecting your client and those parties to injunctive relief and special damages, among other remedies.”
There has to be some kind of resolution to this that leads to Haupt selling his tapes, making a pretty penny, and the league gaining ownership. Haupt told the league that he’d like to sell everything jointly and give a portion of both of their earnings to charity, which seems like the best possible scenario for everyone.
(Via the New York Times)