Sunday's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., might be the most popular and expensive television program in U.S. history – about 110 million viewers watching a football game that commands nearly $4 million for a 30-second commercial. Tickets at the 50-yard line cost about $10,000. A 20-ounce cup of Bud Light will cost $14. "Nothing is really sacred anymore," said John Vrooman, a sports economics professor at Vanderbilt University. It won't stop there. The National Football League hopes to achieve $25 billion in revenue by 2027, up from about $10 billion now. Several analysts told USA TODAY Sports that the NFL can get there, but it will be an expensive journey. More palatial stadiums. Expanded playoffs. More exposure in more places, including smartphones, games in London and more Thursday night games sold to the highest-bidding network. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the magic number at a meeting of NFL team owners in 2010: a goal of tripling league revenue in 17 years. If it happens, the NFL would have more income than the gross domestic products of dozens of small countries and would be in the same financial district currently occupied by gigantic global brands such as McDonald's, Nike and Goodyear Tire, each of which recently took in about $21 to $28 billion annually. Who will pay the price? Fans, sponsors and broadcasters. The NFL remains the most popular sports league in America, and it commands a premium. If the average NFL fan thinks the cost of attending games is already too high, how about paying ever-higher prices to watch games on ESPN and the NFL Network? Cable and satellite TV providers pay ESPN an average of $6.04 per subscription per month, more than double from 10 years ago and dwarfing the likes of CNN (63 cents) and TBS (72 cents), according to SNL Kagan, a market research firm.
NFL takes aim at $25 billion, but at what price?
USA Today | Jan 30