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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues and Governing Bodies

As the NFL considers a proposal to expand the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, it is "not yet clear" whether the idea "has the necessary support among the sport’s franchise owners to be enacted," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. The proposal first "would have to be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 owners." Giants President & CEO John Mara this week said that it is "too soon to know how much support such a measure has among the owners." Mara said, "Until we have a discussion on it on the floor, it’s hard to say. ... I have mixed feelings on it. I’ve always been opposed. One of my concerns is when do you play the games. I think there are some issues there. I’m also concerned about watering the playoffs down. But I’m still willing to listen to the other side." Steelers President Art Rooney II on Thursday said, "I think there’s interest in hearing about the whole proposal. It’s something we’re willing to listen to." Maske noted the owners "could consider the proposal this offseason" (, 1/23).

ALL FOR IT: Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy said that he is "in favor of the NFL expanding the playoffs and eliminating the extra point." Murphy on Tuesday in an interview with Appleton, Wisc.-based WSCO-FM said that the "additional TV revenue from adding a seventh playoff team from each conference is attractive." Murphy: "If we could (add two wild-card teams) and make changes in the preseason, maybe eliminate a preseason game, something along those lines, (be)cause our preseason, really, is not of a high quality anymore. So, I think that trade off would be really positive for the fans" (GREEN BAY PRESS GAZETTE, 1/23).

PROFIT MARGINS: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote of all the changes to the NFL that Commissioner Roger Goodell has "floated out, another expansion of the playoffs (not the elimination of the extra point) may wind up being the most likely -- and controversial -- to be actually ratified." The NFL is "going on a quarter century without expanding the postseason and there is overwhelming sentiment among fans that there is no need to fix what isn't broken." Goodell "says nothing would happen until 2015 at the earliest, perhaps to temper panicked reactions." Wetzel wrote it is "easy to criticize the NFL for selling out and chasing money it really doesn't need, but it is a business and what other business is sitting on something that profitable without tapping into it?" Goodell is "claiming his interest in adding wild-card teams is to provide good clubs with a path to potentially winning the Super Bowl, but it's likely just a bottom line decision" (, 1/23).

The U.S. Soccer Federation foresees almost $20M "in sponsorship revenue" for FY '15, plus an additional $4.3M "earmarked by Nike for player development," according to budget documents cited by Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. The next phase of the USSF's sponsorship portfolio "includes a new deal with Nike" running through '22. The previous pact, "set to expire at the end of this year," brought $12.6M in funding and equipment. Details of the new contract "are not specified" in the budget documents, but overall sponsorship intake for fiscal year ’15 "increases from FY ’14 and there is a notable uptick in monthly revenue" from December '14 ($1.5M) to January '15 ($2.5M). Other "anticipated revenue sources" include $15.1M from men's and women's national team home matches; $5.8M from player and membership registration; $3.1M from referee registration and other fees; and $2.3M for coaching programs and schools. The USSF is projecting a $3.17M surplus for FY '14 that ends March 31 -- "driven by strong MNT & WNT event revenues, hosting a Men’s World Cup Qualifier in a larger than planned stadium (Seattle) and winning the Gold Cup." The USSF also "will spend $807,000 on the National Women's Soccer League this year, up from $526,000" in subsidies given in '13 (, 1/23).