Is Owning An NFL Team Profitable

According to Forbes, 13 NFL teams made it to the top-25 list of the most profitable sports teams worldwide. The Dallas Cowboys topped the chart with a staggering $1.171 billion, followed by the New England Patriots at $623 million, and the list goes on. These figures are impressive, but where does this wealth originate?

The primary source of income for NFL team owners is TV revenue. The league negotiates multibillion-dollar agreements with major networks like Fox, CBS, ESPN, and NBC, generating over half of the NFL's revenue. Additionally, owners earn locally through concession revenues, ticket sales, and sponsorship deals.

Owning an NFL team is not just about raking in profits; it's also about increasing the franchise's value. The value of NFL teams has been on a steady rise, with team valuations going up an average of 28.5% from the previous season as of April 2023. This trend makes the NFL the most profitable league in sports, further enhancing the appeal of team ownership.

However, becoming an NFL team owner is no small feat. It requires significant financial investment and adherence to stringent league rules. In the past, one could own a team for as little as $500, as with the Mara family founding the New York Giants in 1925. Today, you need to be extraordinarily wealthy to buy an NFL team. For instance, Jimmy Haslam's first payment for the Cleveland Browns was a whopping $700 million.

Owning an NFL team can be a sound investment despite the high entry cost. The value of a team rarely decreases and can skyrocket with factors like a new stadium or a lucrative TV deal. Some families, like the Rooneys and Al Davis clan, have even amassed considerable wealth through ownership.

However, potential owners must meet specific requirements set by the NFL. Any group looking to buy a team must be led by an individual who owns at least 30% of the team. This rule prevents large ownership groups from buying a team, ensuring each franchise is led by a single "face."

Moreover, any change in ownership must be approved by a league vote, requiring the approval of 31 other individuals. If the prospective owner is deemed likely to cause embarrassment or financial distress, they may not gain entry into this exclusive club.

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