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Volume 25 No. 89
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Financial Health Of NFL Still Strong Despite Protests, Declining Ratings

Each of the league's 32 teams got a $225M check for their share of a national revenue that topped $8B
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

A look at the NFL's latest financials proves the contention by President Trump and his supporters that the league is "self-destructing because of player protests during the national anthem truly is 'fake news,'" according to Nancy Armour of USA TODAY. Each of the league's 32 teams got a check for $255M last year, their "portion of a national revenue sharing pool" topping $8B, which is up around 5% from the previous year. But that is "not to say there aren't warning signs." There remain "concerns about head trauma remain," as well as declining ratings. At the same time, rising ticket prices have made games "inaccessible to some fans, and advances in technology have made the in-home -- or on-device -- viewing experience comparable to being in the stands." Despite all that, the NFL "remains the easiest bet a billionaire and his friends can make" (USA TODAY, 7/18). ESPN's Pablo Torre noted the NFL "made more money this past year than it ever has before" and said the league is "not being moved off its perch anytime soon." Torre: "The NFL is not being hurt by the political conversation around it ... but it is going to be hollowed out over time by all of these parents who don't want their kids to play the sport. I think there will be a demographic configuration there that's not positive for the NFL" ("High Noon," ESPN, 7/17). THE ATHLETIC's Andrew Brandt wrote the Packers' financials are a "great indicator of the overall health of the NFL." Despite "tired carping about the NFL being in trouble due to concussions, anthem protests or whatever the latest 'crisis' is, the league is laughing all the way to the bank." The '11 CBA, now "entering its eighth year of an extraordinary ten-year term, has been a windfall." Brandt: "Ignore the noise; these are salad days for NFL owners" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/17).

BIG FISH, LITTLE FISH: In Providence, Kevin McNamara writes it is "not apples-to-apples," but the Packers are the "smallest market in the NFL." McNamara: "How do you think the Krafts are doing up the road in Foxboro?" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 7/18).