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Volume 25 No. 199
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NFL Owners To Vote On Ending Cross-Ownership Rule

NFL owners are scheduled to vote at their Fall meeting next week to eliminate the decades-old cross-ownership rule, which prevents owners of other big four sports teams in NFL markets from buying football teams. The rule also prevents an NFL owner from buying a non-NFL big four team in a league market. The rule is in place to prevent NFL owners from competing with their fellow owners in the local sports marketplace. However, with valuations of teams so high, the pool of prospective buyers has shrunk, leading to a rethink of the rule, sources said. Only three bidders emerged for the sale of Panthers, which David Tepper bought for $2.275B in August. While that amount was a record for an NFL team, it still came in under expectations. Sal Galatioto, a sports investment banker, said if the NFL does lift the rule, it would be a boon to the sports mergers and acquisitions market. “It would have a very positive effect on the NFL and other sports assets,” he said. “It opens up the market for an NFL team to a large group of very wealthy people.” The NFL has not always strictly enforced the rule. Stan Kroenke in '10 exercised an option to buy the Rams despite already owning the Nuggets and Avalanche. After a long grace period, he did not sell the Denver teams but moved their ownership to family members. The league several years earlier prevented the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, from bidding on the Dodgers. While at the time there was no NFL team in L.A., the league considered L.A. a league market.