One of the highlights of the NFL summer is the Green Packers releasing their annual financial statements. They are the only NFL team that is a publicly held entity. Fans are able to buy stock in the team, and while it is worthless, I imagine it gives folks a bit of a kick. The NFL no longer allows teams to develop this kind of ownership structure, so no, you cannot organize a public purchase of the San Francisco 49ers from the York family.
The reason this is so interesting though is that as a public company, the Packers are required to release annual financial statements like any other public company. The team released the details Friday afternoon. The big piece of information to come out of this is the national revenue. The Packers and all 31 other teams get an even split of national revenue. This year, the national revenue number is $222.6 million. The Packers report that as a 13.5 million increase (6 percent) from last year. The bump comes from the increase in broadcast rights contracts the NFL has sold. There are other licensing and ticket revenue sharing amounts that are distributed each year, so this is not all the league distributed money. To give you an idea, the full league distribution last year was $226.4 million. That means this year’s was over $240 million factoring in the $13.5 million national revenue increase, and any increases elsewhere.
The NFL salary cap was set this year at $155.27 million. The San Francisco 49ers adjusted cap, factoring in roll-over and credits is $176,581,934. The 49ers are currently $49.5 million beneath that number. Once final cuts are made their cap space will decrease, since it will include practice squad and injured players. However, they will likely still be well under the cap. But even if they were spending the full $176 million adjusted cap figure, that’s still $50 million ownership does not need to spend on player payroll. Just for owning a team, each owner has player payroll covered with plenty left over. It’s a good business if you can get into it!
The Packers reported that they took in $186.2 million in local revenue, giving them $408.7 million in total revenue. Team president Mark Murphy said the team has ranked ninth in total revenue three straight years, and will find out their most recent ranking later this fall. The team expanded in some areas, which boosted those revenues in a big way. The team finished the fiscal year (March 31, 2016) with $48.9 million in net income, and $75 million in profit from operations. Those figures represented increases of 68 percent and 91 percent, respectively. Operating profit usually represents profit before interest and taxes. Net income usually represents revenues and then adjusting for the cost of doing business, depreciation, interest, taxes and other expenses.
Former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask had this to say after the Packers numbers were released:
Note when looking at GB financials that there's a gap of hundreds of millions in revenue separating highest from lowest revenue clubs.— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) June 24, 2016
It is safe to say the 49ers are currently on the top end of the revenue spectrum. I am guessing the Dallas Cowboys are on top, but the 49ers are definitely in the mix up there when it comes to strictly revenue. The new stadium has had its ups and downs, but it has been a success for the most part. The 49ers are bringing in crazy amounts of money when it comes to luxury suites, club seats, and so forth. The PSLs are used to help pay down the stadium debt, but that still leaves plenty of profit.
Tim Kawakami has repeatedly said the 49ers were making $100 million in profit pretty much right out of the gate. Naturally, the 49ers have insisted it is less than that. We’re never going to know for certain. They have plenty to pay off on those stadium loans, along with rent on the stadium. It’s high either way, and with depreciation and various accounting tricks, they can play down their profit number considerably. They’re making plenty of money with or without accounting tricks.