Editor Note: ‘Early Entrants’ is a series of sports business ‘rumblings’ before the news breaks.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has reported that there is growing support amongst NFL owners for the inclusion of a 17-game season within the league’s next collective bargaining agreement. The expanded slate would see the sixteen additional games played at neutral sites, “with a heavy emphasis on key international locales like London (which could get as many as 8 games), Ireland, Germany, Mexico and Brazil”; iconic college football venues (think: ND, Alabama), Hawaii (presumably Aloha Stadium) and “cities in Canada” would all be in the mix to host games, as well.
The article speculates that the formation of an expanded international schedule would create the opportunity for the league to cut out a new broadcast package worth as much as $1 billion/season, but lucrative broadcast rights aside, NFL owners have a secondary (no pun intended) incentive to push for neutral site games – their 20% stake in On Location Experiences.
The addition of neutral site games to the NFL calendar would grow ticketing inventory, the number of travel packages OLE has to sell and corporate EBITDA. If OLE does $1 million in profit for each London game, the company would bring in an additional $4 million-$6 million/year in EBITDA (think: 4 more games in London, perhaps another one or two in Ireland and Germany; minimal travel appeal within North America). Assuming OLE were sold at 12x (as discussed with Endeavor), the addition of a 17th game could be worth an additional +/- $75 million to the company valuation.
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