Few things are more American than football. Sure, it’s derived from an ancient Greek and Roman sport, but it’s safe to say those players didn’t have cheerleaders, sweet halftime shows, killer sponsorship deals, and fly-as-hell touchdown celebrations
While there are a few American football-style organizations in North America, none are as big as the NFL and their 32 nationwide teams. The NFL and their teams rake in around $7.3 billion a year, including merchandise, TV deals, sponsorships, and other revenue streams. The company hopes to increase that number to $25 billion in ten years from now, meaning they would become nearly four times as profitable as they are now.
Unfortunately, you can’t invest directly into the NFL. You can’t buy NFL stock, nor can you buy stock in any NFL team. You can, however, indirectly invest in the NFL and reap the rewards of the success. But should you? Let’s take a look.
The NFL is not a publicly traded company, but a trade association.
Until 2015, the NFL was a non-profit, thus making them tax exempt. Now, the NFL pays taxes, though they likely pay around $10 million since they pay most of their money out to teams. At the same time, a publicly held company may never own an NFL team. Single individuals, trusts, and corporations existing solely to own an NFL franchise are the only entities who can own and run an NFL team.
The NFL’s sponsors help drive revenue to the organization and its teams, including several food and beverage brands.
Anheuser-Busch ($BUD) is the official beer of the NFL, and their products are consumed by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) at football stadiums throughout the NFL season. Pepsi’s Gatorade ($PEP) branding is everywhere on the sidelines, as athletes drink copious amounts of the sports drink to rehydrate during the game. Dannon yogurt ($DANOY) and Papa John’s Pizza ($PZZA) also run NFL or football-branded ads during football games while having prominent placement throughout stadiums.
Not only do NFL apparel sponsors receive advertising through on-jersey branding, but through licensed merchandise, too.
Under Armour ($UA) is an “authorized supplier” of footwear and gloves for the NFL. Nike ($NKE) is the league’s official uniform partner. Both companies (who happen to be fashion rivals) make a decent chunk of change by selling NFL-related products to people at stadiums and sporting goods stores. Dick’s Sporting Goods ($DKS), also an NFL partner, sells these products and other NFL-branded products.
If there’s something to be sponsored, the NFL has a company paying them millions just to get featured.
Bridgestone ($5108) is an official NFL tire sponsor. Microsoft’s ($MSFT) Surface tablets can be seen on the sidelines as coaches use them for playbooks. Verizon ($VZ) is the NFL’s official communications partner, and Visa ($V) is the official credit card of the NFL. In the NFL, no single product goes unsponsored.
While you can’t invest in the NFL, you can invest in these companies, many who see a boost from NFL ads and NFL-branded products. However, be sure to research each individual company before you invest. After all, Dick’s relies on more than just sales of NFL goods, so don’t let the NFL’s involvement with each company be the sole motivating factor of your investment.