TV is the NFL's golden goose, but gambling and streaming show potential.
- By any measure, the NFL is the most successful American sports league in history. For all the talk of North America’s “Big Three” sports (or for hockey fans, Big Four), the reality is that there’s pro football, and then there’s everything else.
- In 2015, in response to mounting criticism for its quickly growing revenue, the NFL gave up the tax-exempt status it had held since 1947. The league now exists as a trade association made up of and financed by its 32 member teams. 31 of these teams are owned individually, only the Green Bay Packers retains its non-profit status.
- The NFL earns the lion’s share of its money with TV deals. According to Statista, more than 50% of the league’s revenue came from TV deals in 2015, a year when the league made about $12 billion. Other revenue streams include ticket sales, merchandising, and licensing rights and corporate sponsorships.
- Bloomberg estimates it earned around $15 billion during the 2018 season. This is up from estimates of $14.2 billion in 2017 and $13.3 billion in 2016. And the league is showing no intentions of slowing down. Commissioner Roger Goodell has targeted $25 billion in revenue by 2027, or 6% annual growth.
The NFL Business Model
The NFL groups its revenue streams into two categories: “national revenue” and “local revenue.”