Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NFL Idea - Stadium Fund

The NFL is a well oiled machine that earns billions each year (just over 9 bil now). They have a dominant position in the sporting world due to the rarity of games (one a week), the variety of types of men that play (all), stars of both races, styles of play that vary, strategy and brute strength in equal doses, and a sport that looks great on TV. The league shares revenue so that everyone makes money as the only successful communist endeavour in history. Still the NFL owners cry poverty and lobby hard for states and cities to pay for new stadium construction. A better program would be to take a portion of the $9 billion in revenues and set up an annual stadium fund.

The league is switching how they handle revenue sharing. This was accomplished partly through awesome new TV deals as well as destroying the players union at the last lockout. If millions are not going into the revenue share, low revenue team kitty (Jaguars Fund), set up a new fund. Simple math would show that 1% of revenues annually dedicated to such a fund would set aside roughly $100 million per year to the stadium fund. The fund could be capped at a certain level so that the next year's revenues are not docked 1%. The NFL could claim a share of stadium revenues from the new stadium. The Vikings were shaking down Minnesota for a stadium or they will bolt to Los Angeles, and they were successful. A stadium fund would after four or five years have half a billion dollars to contribute. The Vikings ownership wrestled roughly 500 million from the state. A stadium fund could take care of that, alleviating the burden of building stadiums that do not pay the state back.

NFL fans will love it. Franchises in old stadiums could build new ones without the fear of overindebtedness (really just cutting into profit) or the cost of moving. The NFL would hate it. Right now, the NFL loves having Los Angeles as an empty spot to threaten to move teams to if a state does not pay for a stadium. What does Minneapolis or Jacksonville have that compares to SoCal? A stadium fund removes the LA threat, so the leage will not consider it. The NFL also dangles a Super Bowl bid in front of cities as a motivating factor. Atlanta, Arizona, Houston, Detroit and Indianapolis were all rewarded for their new stadium construction with a Super Bowl.

This makes sense if the league was designed for fans, but this is a business. The last lockout happened so that the owners could slide more revenue their way out of the $9 billion pot. The NFL is geared towards its owners and somewhat towards its employees (players). This is similar to the NFL claims of concern about player safety but hint at expanding the season's length. If there was a concern for safety, why expose players to more onfield risk? Performance enhancing drugs will be monitored, but you need to fail multiple tests before getting into real trouble. Fans complain, but nothing will change unless they stop tuning in. Stop romanticizing the fan experience, it is a business.

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