On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams chat with sports consultant Marc Ganis, often referred to as the NFL’s “33rd Owner,” about the business of the world’s richest sports league as it enters its 2021 season. Despite the revenue shortfalls of the pandemic, Ganis says the league has further separated itself from peers, like the NBA or MLB, and has become the “most valuable broadcasting property in the country, bar none.”
The league lost about $4 billion in reduced revenue during the pandemic, plus an additional $1 billion in costs largely from testing and health protocols, according to Ganis, co-founder of Sportscorp Ltd. That said, it was able to widen its commercial advantage over other leagues by holding its entire regular season and playoffs, as scheduled, without any major disruption, he remarked.
The strength of the NFL’s business over the past three decades boils down to three main things, Ganis says. First, the league placed an early emphasis on the broadcasts of its games, which has since grown into a multibillion-dollar media empire. Second, the NFL decided that the owners themselves would be the main decision-makers, as opposed to other leagues, which allow corporate ownership and team-appointed “governors” to participate in critical votes. Third, Ganis says, was the league’s ability to partner with its players to ensure a long period of relative labor peace.
The trio also discuss the league’s new $115 billion in media deals, its potential sale of NFL Network, sports betting, international opportunities and the prospect of private equity investment in teams.