The NFL Juggernaut Rolls On

Each year we get a glimpse into the finances of NFL teams because the Green Bay Packers are not owned by one person.  They are a publicly owned entity and therefore must file financial statements the same way Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon do.  For the previous year, the national revenue distributed by the NFL to each team was $255M.  With the salary cap set at about $170M, that means each team has covered its player costs with about $85M left over to cover ancillary costs like coaches’ salaries, travel, stadium leasing etc.  Not a bad deal if you can get it…

I think there are some other things to note here:

  • National revenue to be split among the teams was up in 2017 to $8.1B.  That is a 4% increase year-over-year.  The bulk of that national revenue comes from the network TV deals the NFL has with its “broadcast partners”.
  • Notwithstanding the gloom-and-doom narrative of falling TV ratings and negative reactions to the anthem protests, the NFL national revenue stream increased by 4% last year.
  • Team owners do not have to share local income – such as local radio and TV deals, ticket revenues (except with visiting teams), parking receipts etc.  As a “small market entity” the Packers managed to generate an additional $199M in 2017; that means the Packers’ total revenue was $454M.  Imagine what a “big market team” will generate in terms of revenue.

Tangentially related to the NFL is the fact that Peter King’s new Monday column for debuted this week and it is called Football Morning in America.  The first installment was similar in format to his previous columns at meaning that football fans now have two columns of extensive NFL news to take in every week.  This situation reminds me of a friend whose motto in life is:

  • Nothing exceeds like excess.

In Greg Cote’s weekend blog entry at, he set the stage for television events this week that may be of interest to sports fans with these two comments:

“British Open begins this week: Golf’s next major begins this Thursday at Carnoustie. This is once again where we chew over whether Tiger Woods is finally “back” and ready to at last win his first major in 10 years, raising the volume when he shoots a solid early round, only to concede by the weekend it ain’t-a gonna happen. “

And …

“The 26th ESPY Awards are this Wednesday night in L.A. Because there just are not nearly enough awards shows!”

Regarding the ESPYs, Professor Cote is absolutely correct.  His comment about the British Open and Tiger Woods brings to mind the hype and rumor surrounding a supposed winner-take-all match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for $10M.  The golf writers are slobbering all over this idea as if it might be THE solution to world peace and the ultimate identification of who actually put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong all wrapped up in one.  Obviously, I think such a staged/concocted event would fall far short of either goal.

Why can we not identify the underpinnings of this idea for what it really is?

  • These are two aging and fading super-stars in their sport who are going to take a shot at one more “cash grab”.

Years ago, Tony Kornheiser published a book that was an anthology of previous newspaper columns he had written.  That book, Pumping Irony, sold well and so he and the publisher went and collected a bunch of other columns he had written and put them together in a second book.  Tony Kornheiser gave the second book an honest title when he called it I’m Back For More Cash.  That should be the way we all refer to a Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson $10M winner-take-all hootdoodle.  Here is a question for you.

  • If it were a $10 winner-take-all match between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, would you watch?

And one last thing here…  I would be more interested in this winner-take-all match if Woods and Mickelson each put $10M of their own money into an escrow account and the winner got to have the $20M total.  That would not get me to watch the match, but it would make it more interesting and a lot more honest.

Switching gears – and sports.  I have been scanning baseball box scores for almost 70 years now.  My father and I would check them out in the paper when he got home from work. For the last month or so, I find myself looking for something I had never sought out before.

  • I am looking at the number of hits a team gets in a game and checking to see if that same team struck out twice as many times as they got base hits.
  • Start checking out your box scores in the paper.  It is not all that uncommon these days.

Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times about a golfer on the PGA Tour not named Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson:

“Golfer Bryson DeChambeau used a compass in a tournament, prompting a PGA Tour investigation.

“Veteran Tour watchers were stunned — to learn that a man actually thought about checking for directions.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………