The tides are shifting in the American sporting landscape. The NFL, NBA and MLB have always been the major powers in USA sports and that dynamic won’t be changing anytime soon. However, the order of dominance might very well be altering before our eyes and the money will surely follow.
Gazing into the brass tax right now, the NFL holds the cards in terms of cash and kitty to play with. Their current television deal for example enables them to bank $25 billion until the 2021-22 season, working out to approximately $5-6 billion per year. That dwarfs the 9-year, $24 billion deal the NBA struck back in 2014 which ends up pocketing Adam Silver and his organization a cool $2.6 billion per season. So why should the NFL be worried?
Firstly, those numbers are all relative when deveining up the costs. An NFL roster has to account for 53 registered footballers for a season, that’s after cutting an entire squad of preliminaries as well as looking after a huge backroom staff. With 32 franchises that $5 billion gets stretched quickly, an issue the 12-man rosters in the NBA don’t need to fret about whatsoever.
Then there is the global footprint factor, an issue NFL fans could care less about but an ace up the sleeve of the NBA nonetheless. Throughout Europe, Australia, South America and Asia, names like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and all the stars past and present hold a significant amount of currency. That international element was a big player as to the bumper new television deal, ensuring trips to China in pre-season would now be a regular occurrence.
The NFL is a spectacular sport that will remain a social and commercial powerhouse for generations to come. But the NBA is closing in because for many reasons it is already a more lucrative product than football. Here are 15 of them.
14 Interest From South America
13 Canadian Footprint
12 NBA’s Fairytale Team
11 Interest From Australia
10 More Accessible Sport
9 Interest From Europe
8 Less Vitriol, More Enjoyment
7 Asian Tours
Soccer got in on this gravy train and jumped the gun on their competitors years before it was the trendy thing to do – such is their hipster way. Not only have they got one of the wealthiest sports in the world and are now able to attract the biggest stars off the back of a booming economy, but now global franchises like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and a host of other clubs are making Asia their number one priority for pre and post season tours to maximize their bottom line.
6 Higher Average Salaries
5 More Action In The Game
4 Commercial Time At A Premium
3 Greater Scope For Endorsements
2 Better Characters
1 Superior Superstar Factor
The NFL simply cannot compete for the marketability of a Michael Jordan, despite all their financial muscle and world-class athletes that push themselves to remarkable feats. The 1990s are remembered for so many good things, from grunge music to Seinfeld and MJ shooting and dunking his way to NBA superstardom in Chicago. Children all across the world had posters of Jordan on their wall, even if basketball wasn’t their sport and they had no interest or local reference point for what a Chicago Bull even was. In today’s game the likes of Steph Curry and LeBron James are riding the crest of the wave started by MJ to be on billboards, commercials and even feature films of their own to illustrate how easily now an NBA athlete can cut through pop culture and become an icon. Tom Brady and Cam Newton do quite well for themselves, but outside the United States, you would do well to find people that would recognize them. Popularity stakes, much like in they are in High School, are difficult to rationalize, but they do matter. This superior superstar factor is the top reason why the NBA is more lucrative than the NFL.
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