Every NFL team received a tick above $345 million in national revenue for the 2021 season, according to multiple people familiar with the league’s financial results who were not authorized to speak publicly. It was a record tally and 12% higher than in 2020.
The total represents national media rights, league sponsorships and shared revenue and royalties from the league’s various affiliates and subsidiaries, such as NFL Properties, NFL International and NFL Enterprises.
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Representatives from the NFL declined to comment.
The Green Bay Packers release their annual financial report every July ahead of their shareholder meeting. It offers a window into the richest sports league in the world. The NFL’s smallest market team is the only club that makes its results available, as a publicly owned, non-profit corporation.
The Packers’ national revenue is closely watched because that number is nearly identical for every club and is the engine that makes the NFL financial machine go. The figure was $309 million in 2020—local revenue was $62 million during the COVID-19 impacted season—and $296 million in 2019 when local revenue hit $211 million. The Packers are expected to report significant profits for 2021, after posting a loss of $39 million the previous year. Operating profits were $70 million in 2019.
There is a slight increase in national revenue for certain clubs if they appear on national radio broadcasts or preseason games on national TV. It is a kind of make-good on lost local revenue for those teams because they control those media rights and can generate advertising from them. Some fans will eschew the local feed for the national one, impacting the value of the game. The variance in the national revenue distributions is typically less than $150,000 and a rounding error compared to the overall figure.
The league’s media contracts with ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC make up the bulk of the equally shared revenue, but teams got a bump from hefty league sponsorship revenue; it increased by 23%, according to sponsor tracking firm IEG. DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars were added as sportsbook partners in 2021, and the league signed secondary deals with BetMGM, WynnBET, Fox Bet and PointsBet. Before the season, teams had projected the 2021 national revenue slice to be between $335 million and $340 million.
The league revenue distributed to the 32 clubs was $11.1 billion and represented more than 60% of their total estimated revenue of $18 billion during last season. The annual check per club will top $400 million when the next round of media contracts kicks off in 2023.