SBD/April 19, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Revenue Gap Among NFL Teams Playing Big Part In Franchise Relocation Decisions

NFL teams don't share stadium revenues with each other, leading to the rising gap
The "gap between rich and poor teams in the NFL has gotten so wide in recent years that three of the underprivileged franchises have taken drastic action" by relocating, and by '30, "several more of the NFL’s low-revenue teams might face the same pressure," according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. Bengals VP Troy Blackburn said the revenue disparity between teams is the "largest it’s ever been in NFL history." Even though teams "equally share the revenues of NFL television contracts and a portion of ticket sales, they don't share other local stadium revenues with each other, leading to the rising gap." Blackburn said that St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland "essentially all lost NFL teams because of this issue." He added that "making matters worse is how the salary cap is calculated as a percentage of the NFL’s total revenues." The "more revenue those rich teams take in at the top, the higher player salary costs climb for all NFL teams, including those at the bottom." Blackburn: "Right now, you’ve got many of the small markets paying over 60-plus percent of their revenues on players, and many of the large markets are paying 40 percent of revenue on players. Something that could be done that narrowed that gap would be helpful." Blackburn said if the league is "serious about franchise stability, maybe it should consider" a new G-3 styled loan program for stadium construction that would "help keep teams in small markets." Blackburn said that the Bengals are "committed to Cincinnati and not looking to leave town" when their lease expires at Paul Brown Stadium in '26 (USA TODAY, 4/19). 

LIVING IN SIN: In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the Raiders' decision to leave Oakland and "embrace Las Vegas presents conflicts for a league that has long stood vehemently against gambling." A franchise "will live in Sin City -- a notion considered a nonstarter just five years ago -- as a neighbor of the casinos and sports books that for so long were the enemy." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the league’s policies are "all about protecting the integrity of the game, but they amount to a hodgepodge of contradictions." But the Raiders will "play in Oakland for at least two more seasons, giving the owners time to revisit their rules and bring them more in line with the reality that gambling has become far more ubiquitous" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/19). 
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