The New York Times has the story of Troy Haupt, a North Carolina man who, at 47 years of age, wasn’t even born when his dad — a man he never even knew — recorded the first Super Bowl using a Quadruplex videotape machine.
Troy’s mom didn’t even know about the recording until years later, when her former husband, dying of cancer gave her the tape reels in the hope that they might someday be of some value. And so she put them in the attic, where they stayed for decades.
Until 2005, when Troy learned that the two networks that aired Super Bowl I had failed to save their recordings of the game. One estimate at the time put a value on such a tape at around $1 million.
The tapes have been restored, thanks to the Paley Center for Media, but Troy’s attempts to see any money from the video have been unsuccessful.
He says the league only offered $30,000 for the footage and refused to budge. In fact, according to the Times, the NFL now refuses to offer any money at all for the tapes.
Troy also claims that the league scuttled CBS’s offer to pay him $25,000 plus Super Bowl 50 tickets to use a few minutes from the game footage.
A rep for the league tells the Times that it did not direct CBS to renege on its offer to pay Troy for the footage and the accompanying interview, and the network says it canceled the piece “because we couldn’t get the appropriate clearances.”
That’s because the league technically owns the content on those tapes. That doesn’t mean the NFL can has a right to the physical tapes or that it can force Troy to allow them to have a copy for free. But it can block Troy from selling the footage to someone else.
Troy tells the Times he hopes that he and the league could work out a joint sale, with some of the money going to good causes.
“They’re not doing anybody any good sitting in a vault,” he explains. “Let’s help some great charities.”