The National Football League’s 32 teams split a record $9.5 billion in national revenue last season, mostly from the league’s TV deals, according to financials released by the Green Bay Packers.
Each team received $296 million from the league, up 8% from $274.3 million in 2018, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said Tuesday. The jump comes primarily from built-in increases to the league’s broadcasting deals, but it also includes money from nationwide league sponsorship and other shared business ventures. Money generated locally, the other piece of the Packers’ annual income, was a record $210.9 million, bringing the team’s total revenue from the 2019 season to $506.9 million.
That breakdown—with 58% of revenue coming from the league office—is critical to how the team is thinking about this upcoming season, which has already been disrupted due to Covid-19. The league is currently planning to hold its regular season as planned, though with significantly reduced capacity, if there are fans there at all.
“Roughly two-thirds of our revenue is from the broadcasts, or national revenue, and that is enough to cover our player costs,” Murphy said. “So if you say we play an entire season without any fans, roughly we would still receive two-thirds of our revenue.”
The Packers are a publicly-owned non-profit, which operates slightly differently than a public company. The team issues shares that don’t appreciate in value, pay no dividends and cannot be resold. Its 2012 stock sale raised $64 million.
The unique structure provides the only regular public glimpse into the financials of the the world’s richest sports league, which gave up its tax-exempt status in 2015 and no longer releases information such as Commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary.
The league’s top-line revenue number—around $16 billion last year—includes the national revenue and the local revenue for every club. The local number consists of team-specific sponsorships, shared gate receipts, media deals and some game-day sales.
Green Bay’s operating profit was $70.3 million last season, a massive jump from just $700,000 in 2018. That number tends to fluctuates with the cyclical nature of player and coach contracts, plus special payments like cash for the league’s concussion settlement, which had been on the books in the past but was not this year.
Looking ahead to this season, Murphy acknowledged a lot of unknowns for 2020. If fans can come to games, the team expects to allow only 10,000 to 12,000 (Lambeau Field typically seats 82,000)—a number that more than satisfies the team’s “break-even” point. It also has $411 million in a corporate reserve fund, which can be used to cover costs.
“We anticipate revenue will drop significantly,” Murphy said. “There is a lot of uncertainty at every organization. We do feel though that the organization is well-positioned to weather the pandemic.”