The money has not gone away.
The gates are swinging open for National Football League training camps as teams prepare for the 2018 season. The league is in great financial shape. The Green Bay Packers, a public company, released financial figures which showed that the league distributed $8.1 billion to teams in 2017. Twenty nine of the league’s 32 teams are on Forbes list of the 50 most valuable world-wide franchises in sports. Despite the battle of the National Anthem and the constant badgering of the bully pulpit about players kneeling during the song and showing disrespect to the United States along with falling TV ratings, the NFL remains the most valuable sports organization in America. The league has a new five year TV deal for 11 Thursday night football games with Rupert Murdoch’s FOX over-the-air TV network for a reported $650 million annually. Those 11 games will also be on the NFL network along with FOX’s Spanish sports network. FOX will also produce an additional seven games for the NFL Network. Amazon renewed its Thursday night stream rights giving the league $130 million for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In December 2017, the NFL extended its video streaming deal with Verizon giving the NFL more than $2 billion over a five year period.
The money is coming in despite the anthem problems which may or may not to leading to falling TV ratings. TV ratings slippage is not just the National Football League’s problem. Major League Baseball just recorded its worst ever All Star Game ratings. TV ratings have slipped across the entire entertainment spectrum. The National Football League’s real problem and it is a concern for college football is concussions. The football industry will find out soon if fewer children are playing the sport because or permanent brain injuries. That issue is far more important than bully pulpit rants.