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Think Controversy Is Harming the NFL? Think Again.

Despite the scandals that seemingly threaten the NFL, the basic truth is that outrage is good for business.

 

If you believe what the sitting President might think (or twist to suit his narrative), the blizzard of scandal that constantly surrounds the NFL is harming it. In fact, the volume of the angst is feeding the beast.

 

 

According to Bloomberg (which obtained an annual report that revealed the financial health of the league), the NFL handed out $8.2 billion in league-wide revenue to its 32 franchises in 2017, up nearly 5% from the previous year. As a quick aside, The NFL’s revenue is mostly made up of TV and sponsorship deals. Added to this, teams also generate revenue from ticket sales and food sales on game day.

The Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy says the controversy over whether players should stand for the national anthem has yet to hurt the league financially, according to ESPN. While it is true that the NFL’s ratings are down (they fell by almost 10% from 2016 to 2017) this doesn’t matter for the league in the short run, as the league’s major TV deals run through 2022.

It is certainly possible that when these TV agreements need to be renegotiated, falling ratings could harm the league’s bottom line. Yet it’s equally likely that the desire for live rights from new media players, like Amazon and Facebook, and the increased value of live events for advertisers, could keep revenues climbing.

Another sign of the league’s health is the $2.2 billion dollars paid in 2018 by hedge fund manager David Pepper for the Carolina Panthers. It was a record sale price for a North American franchise and an $800 million increase over the price paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014, which represents the last franchise sold. Let me be honest, the Bills possess a history of ineptitude, as do the Panthers. Despite this, the bottom line remains strong.

Add the spooling figures coming in from Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign and it seems that cashing in on outrage is the American pastime, not sport.

 

 

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