CBS Seeks $700K Tax Break For Hyping The Super Bowl

Superdome Super Bowl XLVIIThe New Orleans Superdome, before the game.

Super Bowl network CBS is asking Louisiana, the seventh poorest state in the US, for a $700,000 tax break. And the television behemoth is likely to get what it’s after.

CBS applied for the credit to cover costs for broadcasting its chat show “The Talk” in the runup to the Super Bowl, which it also aired.

(Its Talk promos also earned local ire when CBS covered a statue of President Andrew Jackson with a sign.)

CBS said it was seeking the break because “a live, daily entertainment talk show on location is a considerable expense.” Taxpayers are furious: The Louisiana Budget Project, a research group based in Baton Rouge, called it “corporate welfare.” 

Louisiana is known as “Hollywood South” because of its state tax credit program for broadcasters and film companies. The program is designed to incentivise movie and TV show production in the state, creating business and opportunity in an economically depressed region.

So why are people so mad?

The tax credit is designed for companies that wouldn’t otherwise film in Louisiana. Because CBS was already putting on the Super Bowl in New Orleans, critics say, “The Talk” was already coming to the city, with or without the tax incentive.

The program, which cost Louisiana taxpayers $223 million last year, also specifically excludes televised news and sporting events.

“The tax credit shouldn’t be icing on the cake,” said state Senator J.P. Morrell. However, it looks like CBS will get the money back after all, because talk shows aren’t classifed as news.

Super Bowl XLVII earned CBS $220 million in ad sales alone.

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