Mascots, cheerleaders, and face-paint: What do these things have in common? Football! And America’s favorite sport is one of the largest in the nation, valued at over 37.4 billion per year. That amount is higher than the GDP’s of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and 115 other countries.
Financedegreecenter.com has created an infographic detailing the sport and numbers behind the behemoth’s success, entitled “The Business of NFL”. The NFL is easily the most popular of the four major American professional sports leagues, and that makes it an industry in itself.
For instance, the combined value of NFL’s 32 teams is $37.4 billion or thereabouts. That figure is higher than the GDP of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Jamaica and 115 more countries on earth. Then, there is the “small” matter of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team. An article in Forbes magazine, dated 15th July 2013, lists the Dallas Cowboys as the second most highly valued American sports franchise in the United States, and fifth in the world. This valuation in money terms can buy an iPhone 5C for nearly every person in Texas, pay the monthly SNAP food assistance allowance for 17 million Americans, hire more than 65000 new elementary school teachers and buy the 5 lowest 5 value Major League Baseball teams.
As Mae West famously once quoted, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”. Americans seem to find NFL truly wonderful, devouring it at every opportunity they get. It draws parallels to the popularity of cricket in India, or soccer in England. The average cost to go watch a game is a steep $78.38. Total merchandise sales seems to be rising every year, with sales from 2012 rising to $3 billion in 2013. TV networks are forced to pay through the roof for broadcasting rights. ESPN topped the expense chart in 2013, at $1.1 billion.
Each year from 2009 to 2013, Superbowl is the most watched show in America, with 2012 clocking 166.8 million viewers for the Giants versus Patriots game. It is surprising to note that the NFL is a non-profit entity. The league is exempt from paying taxes. The 32 franchises pay taxes on the profits they earn, but not the league itself. This is has led to widespread calls for the US Senate to revoke the status. 214,000 signers of a Change.org petition led the charge for this movement.
For a league such as NFL that rakes in so much money every year its players are poorly paid relative to other leagues. The average annual salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million, the lowest compared to NBA ($5.2 million), MLB ($3.2million) and NHL ($2.4 million). They also have the lowest average career length, at 3.5 years.