THE GROSS FOOTBALL PRODUCT

March 13, 2011

So just what are NFL owners and players fighting over? The answer, of course, is money—$9.3 billion in revenue, to be specific. While the league won't divulge exactly how that figure breaks down (a sticking point in the ongoing labor talks), SI and FORTUNE have crunched the numbers to provide an unprecedented look at the game's GFP (gross football product), a figure roughly equal to the GDP of Macedonia.

BROADCAST

Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, TV and digital earnings across its 32 teams—$125 million apiece, plus an equal share for the league—and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall TV programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever.

DIRECT TV

SATELLITE TELEVISION

$1 BILLION PER YEAR

8 GAMES

Plus NFL Sunday Ticket

ESPN®

$1.1 BILLION PER YEAR

18 GAMES

SPONSORSHIP

From credit cards to cameras, from auto makers to pizza, companies pour money into the league's coffers for the right to associate their brands with the NFL. Among those pouring are Pepsi ($560 million over eight years, starting in 2004) and Gatorade ($45 million a year, plus marketing costs and free Gatorade for teams).

$25--30 MILLION

Teams can collect that much for stadium naming rights, usually on 10-year deals. (The largest: Reliant Energy's $10 million-per-year contract with the Texans.) Experts say such pacts may be the way of the past, but at least one exception exists in L.A., where Farmers Insurance promised $700 million over 30 years to name a stadium for a team that doesn't exist yet.

$1.1 BILLION

Nike paid that much to land the NFL's apparel sponsorship. Previous partner Reebok had been moving $350 million annually in NFL gear.

TICKETS/CONCESSION

In 2010 more than 17 million fans passed through NFL turnstiles, paying anywhere from $54.51 (Browns) to $117.84 (Patriots) for the average game ticket. Though the league won't open its books, numbers for the publicly-held Packers offer some insight (below) into what teams reap at the ticket office and concession stands.

In 2010, Green Bay cleared $60,059,646 from home and away game tickets plus private boxes. Projected over 32 teams, that's close to $2 billion.

FACT: Attendance dropped 0.81% from 2009 to '10.

THE GAME $9.3 BILLION

How lucrative is the NFL? Consider that the league's GFP is not much smaller than the revenues of major league baseball ($6--7 billion), the NBA ($3--4 billion) and the NHL ($1 billion) combined.

NBC

$650 MILLION PER YEAR

18 GAMES

verizon

$720 MILLION

Paid over four years to be the NFL's wireless provider.

The Packers reaped $13 MILLION from concessions, parking and local media in 2010, which figures to $416 million NFL-wide.

$700 MILLION

That's how much the league will see in cash from its $1.2 billion, six-year deal with beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch—but teams still cut their own deals when it comes to pouring rights at stadiums.

NFL ON FOX

$712.5 MILLION PER YEAR

102 GAMES

CBS

$622.5 MILLION PER YEAR

102 GAMES

THE COSTS:

As much as the NFL brings in, its expenses—from labor to operations—are considerable. Below, a look at where most of the money goes

PLAYER SALARIES

Though teams today are serving up a smaller portion of the revenue pie to players than they were a decade ago, the relief is relative. The percentage of revenue going to player salaries more than doubled from 1980 to 2000:

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

PERCENTAGE OF GROSS REVENUE DEDICATED TO SALARIES

70%

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

1980

1990

2000

2010

BENEFITS

According to a Congressional Research Service report, the league paid $919.6 million in benefits for retired players in 2006 and '07. The NFL says clubs contributed some $388 million in '06 to fund a range of benefits that included a supplemental disability plan, savings plan, an annuity program, group insurance, a health reimbursement account, a severance plan, tuition reimbursement and the 88 Plan, which provides for dementia care. The NFL estimated that '07 costs for these benefits would be $350 million.

STADIUMS

NFL teams have erected 11 new homes in the past decade. Here, a breakdown of the financial burden shouldered by owners:

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Owner Net Worth
1. Paul Allen, Seahawks $12.9B
2. Stephen M. Ross, Dolphins $3.3B
3. Malcolm Glazer, Buccaneers $2.4B
4. Stan Kroenke, Rams $2.2B
5. Jerry Jones, Cowboys $1.9B
6. Arthur M. Blank, Falcons $1.45B
27. Zygi Wilf, Vikings $310M
28. Al Davis, Raiders $310M
29. John Mara, Giants** $240M
30. Virginia Halas McCaskey, Bears $200M
31. Steve Tisch, Giants** $170M
32. Dan Rooney, Steelers $150M

*Packers not included due to public ownership

**50% Giants owner

Now on SI.com

For more on the league's ongoing labor negotiations, go to SI.com/NFL

"You want to find out exactly what the revenue is and how it's divided up? Probably your only option is to buy a franchise."

ROBERT BOLAND

NYU Professor of Sports Management

HALO EFFECT: IMPACT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

$20--21 MILLION

Local economic activity generated by a single NFL game. Over eight home games—excluding preseason and playoffs—that's $160 million per year per market and $5.1 billion total earned by peripheral businesses.

100,000

Stadium workers who would be affected negatively by a lockout.

$6.972 BILLION

Money paid by the public toward the $13.146 billion total construction costs of NFL stadiums built since 1990, an average of $250 million per venue.

PHOTOMARK J. REBILAS/US PRESSWIRE (STADIUM) PHOTOWINSLOW TOWNSON/AP (FAN) PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (BEER) PHOTOLANE STEWART (HOT DOG) PHOTOTODD ROSENBERG (NEWTON) PHOTOKIRBY LEE/US PRESSWIRE (FANS) PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (MONTANA) PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (STAFFORD) PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (PAYTON) PHOTORICHARD MACKSON (BLEDSOE) TWO CHARTS EIGHT PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)