Yet Team Owners Continue to Demand Public Money for New Stadiums

By Ken Reed

The Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s only publicly-owned franchise. As such, the Packers are required to release annual financial figures.

Of course, the other 31 franchises, all privately owned, hate this. They’d prefer that nobody knew how much revenue they are pulling in.

Here are some numbers:

The Packers had $579 million in revenue last year. That was a franchise record. Almost 60 percent of that revenue, $347.3 million came from the team’s share of the league’s growing media and sponsorship contracts. The shared league revenue rose by 12.3 percent last year. Player payroll across the league was capped at $188 million. Since player payroll is each team’s biggest expense, it’s clear that the Packers — and every other NFL franchise — made a tidy profit last season.

In addition, each year, NFL teams are getting a growing revenue boost from sports gambling partnerships, as sports gambling becomes legal in more and more states.

NFL owners also benefit from the crazy appreciation of their franchises. The Denver Broncos recently sold for a league record — and an American sports franchise record — $4.65 billion.

Despite this rosy financial picture, team owners, like the Pegula family in Buffalo, continue to demand taxpayer money to build new sports palaces, in which luxury seating and other revenue streams can be boosted to even greater heights.

Once long-term maintenance costs are factored in, the public’s share of the cost of building and operating the new stadium in Buffalo will be more than $1.1 billion. The public handout will go to Terry and Kim Pegula who have a net worth of $5.8 billion.

It’s all so shameful.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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