The NFL is an American gridiron professional football organization, and its origins date back to 1920 when it was called the American Professional Football Association. Thirty-two teams play in the league, which consists of two different conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Each conference comprises a North, South, West and East Division, and the conference champions play each other in the league’s flagship event, the Super Bowl, to determine the league champions.
American football is popular for a number of reasons. The sheer physicality of the sport is one. The combination of speed, skill, strength and agility make it electrifying to watch. The complexity of the game is another. The understanding coaches and their teams have of the rules of the game to find strategies that help them beat the opposing team is admirable. A final reason is the general sense of community the NFL fosters between American football fans. It’s no surprise the league has amassed so many followers and generated so much revenue. Below is a look at how the NFL raises revenue, thanks to big events such as the Super Bowl, and to other sources, and how it gives back to charities and the fans.
Bringing in the revenue
The NFL and its franchises generate revenue in lots of different ways, and the organization saw its coffers bulge with $11.9 billion in national revenue after the 2022 season.
Corporate sponsorships are a major money-spinner and come in all forms from corporate logos on uniforms, to merchandise, to the naming rights. Some stadiums are even named after companies and are thought to earn the NFL tens of millions of dollars every year in some case.
TV deals are also a huge earner. Forbes online reports that, according to league sources, teams earned $249 million each from TV deals. These millions were part of the larger sum of $372 million they received from national media rights, league sponsorships, merchandising and licensing.
Another source of income for the league is, of course, the Super Bowl. While the Super Bowl commands high prices for its tickets, diligent fans often seek the cheapest Super Bowl tickets as a way to experience the grandeur of the event without breaking the bank. The NFL is estimated to earn tens of millions of dollars from sponsorships, commercials, ticket sales, TV partners and more. A commercial during the Super Bowl, for instance, is believed to have cost advertisers $5.6 million. The NFL aren’t the only winners from the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl odds attract plenty of attention, in the run-up to the 2023 Super Bowl, it was estimated the event would generate $1.1 billion in bets.
Giving back through the NFL Foundation
The NFL understands how many lives football can touch and has created the NFL Foundation to improve the lives of people who the game has touched. Together with the 32 teams, the foundation supports athletes of all levels in terms of their health, safety and fitness. This includes youth football and communities that get behind the game. It also contributes to funding for USA Football, the national governing body for football.
The organization also gets behind charitable endeavors that foster community wellbeing and are supported by its athletes, clubs and teams. In 2023, the NFL will donate more than $500 million in 2023 to community impact organizations. It has also been at the forefront of natural disaster response by providing resources for youth and high school football teams and coaches, and also for education and fitness curriculum for schools.
Among some of the many causes the organization supports are:
- NFL Youth of America, which supports youth fitness and safety programs through sports
- Burlington County DC&P, a child welfare and protection agency within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families
- Happy Hills Farm, a Christian day and boarding school that serves at-risk children from Texas and from around the world
- No Hungry Kids Maryland, who work to make sure all children can access the nutrition necessary to grow and thrive
- St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, who are committed to improving community health, especially that of the underserved, the vulnerable and the poor.
As part of its work to improve community wellbeing, the organization runs several different initiatives. Some of the most notable include Character Education, in which students learn how to cultivate healthy relationships and maintain them; NFL Green, in which the organization gets behind environmental initiatives in the host locations of its Pro Bowls and Super Bowls; and Salute to Service, in which the NFL works with various foundations, programs and projects to connect with, empower and honor members of the US military, veterans and their families.
The NFL generates an incredible amount of revenue . As well as sharing it evenly among the teams, the organization puts a large quantity back into communities financially and in the form of different initiatives and programs to promote sports development and community wellbeing.