Black Business Exchange
The NFL money machine
By William Reed
When Dez Bryant signed his $8.6 million rookie contract with the Cowboys, his teammates stuck him with a $54,896 restaurant bill because Demond Bryant is a multi-million dollar moneymaker on a money-making National Football League [NFL] team.
Jerry Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys and signs the checks that Dez receives. Jones has a net worth of two billion dollars and owns America’s most valuable team. The team Jones purchased in 1989 is currently worth $1.85 billion and is the top earner in the NFL. The Cowboys’ payroll is $151 million.
Cowboys Stadium is Jones’ gold mine. Cowboys Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world. It seats 80,000, making it the second largest stadium in the NFL. And that doesn’t include another 30,000 fans who can purchase standing room tickets. The 320 suites and 15,000 club seats at Cowboys Stadium generates $115 million in annual revenue. The stadium has the world’s largest column-free interior and the second-largest high definition video screen, which hangs from 20-yard-line-to-20-yard-line.The facility can also be used for a variety of other activities outside of its primary purpose such as concerts, basketball games, boxing matches, as well as high school and college football contests. Sponsorship revenues total another $50 million. The Party Pass [open areas] sections are behind seats in each end zone and on a series of six elevated platforms connected by stairways.
FedEx Field is home field for league sensation, Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins football team. The Red-skins gave the 22-year-old African American quarterback a signing bonus of $13.8 million and salary of $390,000 to fill the 85,000 seats at FedEx Field. Of the 97 quarterbacks on the 32 clubs’ rosters only 20, or 20.6 percent, are Black.
The NFL is big business. Companies pay big money to have their name, or logo, advertised on the stadium and tickets fans buy. Money is also generated from parking fees, concession stands and team-related gear. If your team is a winner, it gets to be on nationally televised Sunday games or Monday Night Football. All NFL franchise owners are white. It’s estimated that the NFL’s 32 teams currently generate an annual total of $8.3 billion in revenue. The average NFL team is now worth $1.04 billion.
The NFL teams are comprised of 1,696 players. NFL players get paid every two weeks. Salaries are spread out over the year. Typically, a player’s annual salary doesn’t cover what they do with the team before and after the season – they get separate compensation for those activities. Signing and other bonuses can be paid to players as a lump sum or spread out over multiple weeks, depending on the terms of the player’s contract. An athlete earns incentive payment, by playing a certain number of games or achieving other goals specified in his contract.
In 1988, Johnny Grier became the first African-American NFL referee. Now, NFL referees make $150,000 a year to work 16 weekends. The average salary for a player in the NFL is approximately $1.1 million per season. Drew Brees ranks as the NFL’s highest-paid player with earnings of $49.4 million, thanks to a $37 million signing bonus he got with the New Orleans Saints.
None have gotten above the rank of employee, but African Americans are a major part of the NFL. The players’ union is headed by Blacks. They currently get 59.6 percent of designated league revenues – more than $3.5 billion annually. White players are expected to become a minority in the NFL. Today, recent surveys show that the NFL is approximately 57-61 percent non-White, including African Americans, Polynesians [an astronomically high 1.7 percent of NFL players are American Samoans, non-white Hispanics and Asians].