In the NFL, Revenue Trumps All

In the National Football League, it’s not the safety of the players that comes first. Or the domestic violence and sexual assault problems that have increased across the past decade. Maybe it would be supporting social issues that go across sports boundaries? Nope.

What Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, cares the most about is the revenue that the league brings in. It’s about constantly growing and promoting the brand. You’d think that the owners in the NFL would step in at some point as the supervisors of Goodell to make sure all of the issues in the first paragraph were put first. The reason the owners don’t step in is because if he wasn’t taking all of the hits for his decision-making process, they would be the ones bearing the pain. He is a punching bag for not doing what seems right. He’s just a punching bag that makes the league a whole lot of money.

Here are some numbers. According to Forbes and the New York Times, each NFL team is now valued at an average of $2 billion with the lowest being the Buffalo Bills at $1.4 billion and the highest for the Dallas Cowboys at $4 billion.

The league is now near $13 billion in revenues and double what it was at when Goodell took over in 2006 (also up 50% from 2010). According to the NYT, he wants to get up to $26 billion in the next decade. These are just absurd amounts of money that is mostly going into the owners pockets due to the fact that nearly all of the players contracts are non-guaranteed. Why would the owners do anything about it?

In that same NYT article they note that, “Network TV deals are bringing in about $28 billion overall, and DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket contract is worth another $1.5 billion a year to the NFL. Last season, 46 of the top 50 TV shows were NFL games, with “Sunday Night Football” the most-watched prime-time program for the sixth consecutive fall season.” (1). They completely dominate the field and that’s how the NFL brings in most of the revenue.

At some point you would think the other issues would overpower the revenue, but the way it stands right now, Goodell will continue to grow the NFL unless fans drop the league. That’s how they have such humongous TV deals. It’s the fans. If we want to see the NFL and Goodell put those other issues first, then the fans have to lose interest first. Unless something monumental happens, that’s not going to happen.

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