On a recent Freakonomics podcast, Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, pointed out that the NFL generates revenues of about 14-15 Billion dollars a year. And that sounds like a lot and to be sure the NFL is a cultural force in America. But when you compare it to other companies that have similar revenues, it’s just not that big. Matheson says that a business with similar revenue is the paint company Sherwin-Williams. “So the typical American buys as much paint from Sherwin-Williams as it does by buying N.F.L. products from the largest league in the world.”
The Freakonomics podcast is currently doing a series on sports that’s worth checking out.
And don’t forget the NFL operates with a special allowance that allows it’s owners to collude with one another, exempting it from corporate monopoly laws. Not to mention that up until 2015, the NFL operated as a non-profit 501c (although the individual teams do pay taxes on their revenue).