How the NFL makes money and gives back to the community

As sports fans, nothing gives us more joy than being able to make it to a regular NFL season after what seemed like a forever lockdown period. Have you ever wondered about all the money though?

Yes, football is fun. But, it's not all play at the National Football League. It's also a mode of connection with communities nationwide. Whether in-season or not, since communities turn up to support the NFL, NFL responds with everyday acts of philanthropy by owners, players, coaches and club personnel.

In this article

The NFL is all about addressing key social issues and serving as a force for positive change. A lot of that comes from giving back to the NFL community.

The partners of the league and 32 NFL teams commit to educating the NFL community by actively engaging and supporting them to constructively impact society all year round. The NFL seeks to make a positive difference in American communities and connect with millions of fans each year.

But you’ve got to be able to make money before you can support the community. And NFL knows just how, through their 5 sources of course. So, let’s dig deep into where the millions come from.

How the money comes in

Big TV deals

Both national and local broadcasters heavily invest in NFL. They are better! The league produces quality content and its games are some of the best-rated shows on TV.

Corporate sponsors

NFL earns at least $1 billion each year from corporate sponsors. Stadium naming rights bring in billions. Brands sometimes even pay up to $10 million to have their brands associated with stadiums. Apart from stadiums organizations also pay millions to have their names and logos plastered on players’ t-shirts or to sponsors NFL TV shows.

Ticket sales

The average NFL stadium can accommodate close to 70,000 people. So, let’s just assume for namesake that each team charges $100 per ticket, now you do the math—yes, you’re right it leads to $7 million per match! That’s a lot of money.

Nevertheless, ticket prices do go up and down. So, even if they don’t contribute a lot, they help bulge the pockets of NFL finances once in a while.


Off late, the NFL has been experimenting with streaming as a source of income. It all started with a deal with Yahoo Sports back in 2015. Then later Verizon came in as a partner and before long so did Amazon. Streaming matches generate the league close to $20 million per match.

Non-TV licenses

The NFL would probably not be a profitable league without their TV deals. But yet, it makes millions from non-television agreements as well. Like back in 2018 when they signed a 10-year deal with Nike. Nike sold its products sold through the league’s online store.

Another income source for the league is advertising deals, mainly during big games. Precisely, the league makes up to $2.2 million for an ad of 30 seconds. And that’s not even the maximum amount.

The NFL community

Putting money to good use 

The league does a lot for its NFL community through its non-profit organization called The NFL Foundation, it is dedicated to improving the lives of its Football fans. The NFL Foundation along with the 32 NFL Clubs supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes across different levels. They even support youth football and the communities that support the game. Today, the NFL Foundation supports over 45 grants.

Building a society for the better

The NFL Foundation also works towards building individual boys and girls, athletes and non-athletes alike. They support school communities by helping them learn about the importance of developing character and healthy relationships through social and emotional learning.

This is to ensure that middle and high schools build moral character, navigate decision-making skills and improve conflict resolution.

Special causes

The NFL Foundation has helped our most prominent causes like the American Cancer Society through an annual Cancer Awareness initiative. They also support initiatives like Crucial Catch, military non-profits such as the Wounded Warrior Project, The Pat Tillman Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. In 2020, the NFL also held a record-setting Super Bowl fundraiser, to support Inspire Change programming.

Supporting the players

As part of the Inspire Change platform, the Foundation has awarded close to 520 social justice grants to more than 300 current players. And NFL Legends in 2020, earned $1.5 million to support non-profit organizations working in the social justice space.

This page is purely informational. Line does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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