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NFL could face US$2.7bn deficit from reduced fan attendance

The National Football League (NFL) could be set to incur a US$2.7 billion loss from reduced stadium capacities this season.

This season has seen a reduced number of spectators allowed in venues across the league due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with some teams not having any fans at all.

Team Marketing Report used a weighted formula for each of the NFL franchise’s Fan Cost Index (FCI). The gross gameday fan revenue (GGFR) calculations were only reflective of revenues earnt via fans and did not include sponsorships, media rights and off-site sales, for example.

The results of the calculation revealed the revenue losses that teams could lose with a reduced capacity throughout the season. Washington Football Team were calculated to lose the most at US$124.1 million of fan-based gross matchday revenue, shorty followed by the San Francisco 49ers, missing out on US$112.4 million.

At the opposite end, the Cincinnati Bengals are set to lose the least at US$38.1 million, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars also predicted to lose the least.

Team Marketing Report also looked at other American sports alongside the NFL, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

The GGFR calculations proposed a US$694 million loss from the 2019/20 season for the NBA and an eye-watering US$5.2 billion for MLB, who saw their regular 162 game season cut to just 60 games.

Between the three sports, the NFL is less reliant on fan-based income due to having fewer games than its sporting counterparts, as noted by Team Marketing Report, with broadcast deals making up much of the revenue, estimated at US$6 billion per season.

Over a normal season, NFL franchises receive on average US$93 million in fan income from eight home games, whereas the NBA gets US$2.6 million per team across 41 home games and MLB makes US$2.1 million per team for 81 home games.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the NFL’s financial landscape, teams have and will continue to explore safe ways of re-introducing spectators back into stadiums.

Author: Jake Wilkin