The National Football League is selling $275 million in debt to pay off some existing obligations, provide working capital and fund general corporate purposes. The league is also rolling over two maturing credit facilities into a new, five-year entity holding $3.178 billion in debt.
The new money, being issued this month, involves term notes that will mature in 2028, 2033 and 2041, according to a release today from Fitch Ratings, which evaluates debt for the bond market. Term notes typically offer a set interest rate for the life of the loan. The existing $3.2 billion debt is gathering up two maturing revolving credit facilities and rolling them into one, called Football Funding II. In both cases, the debt is rated ‘A’ by Fitch, a firmly investment-grade score.
“The ‘A’ rating reflects the NFL’s position as the most popular professional sports league in the U.S. and its strong and highly regarded economic model, which includes a long history of sizable multi-year national media contracts that were recently renewed through the 2032 or 2033 seasons,” said Fitch in its ratings note. The league also benefits from “significant and equitable revenue sharing among member clubs, a proven track record of conservative financial policies, and a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with its players’ union that includes a ‘hard’ salary cap through 2030.”
A spokesperson for the NFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Based on other bond ratings disclosures, the NFL will be carrying about $10.5 billion in debt with the new notes. Much of the debt is due to pandemic-related financing for clubs and to finance new stadiums in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.