Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandon Smith (80) performs his first run during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars at AT&T Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.
Matthieu Pierce | Sportswire icon | Getty Images
The National Football League is there and should start its 102nd season on Thursday.
The reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Dallas Cowboys in what should be a much-loved first game between two popular quarterbacks – Tom Brady and Dack Prescott. Meanwhile, the NFL’s overall rival COVID remains, with more variants in development and another wave of cases expected in the fall.
One positive case has already affected Game 1 of the season, with the Cowboys excluding offensive lineman Zack Martin from the game. And last month, a small outbreak occurred among the Tennessee Titans. The NFL said more than 99% of league and team employees have been vaccinated, but added that even more positive cases are expected among those vaccinated this season. Nonetheless, the league remains adamant about the end of the season on time. The NFL has previously fined players for Covid-related violations and threatened teams for breaking the rules.
The show will therefore continue. Here’s a quick look at what’s happening on the business front ahead of the 2021 NFL season kicks off.
In pursuit of 100 million viewers
After accepting more than $ 100 billion over the next decade for its media rights, the NFL audience will continue to grab the headlines this season, especially as networks increase ad rates to pay for their investments. .
ViacomCBS will leverage more of its NFL content and deliver Nickelodeon matches during the playoffs. Kid-friendly shows were popular and could attract marketers looking for younger audiences. And with CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal banking on it, its Super Bowl broadcast could attract 100 million viewers. The advertising rate for Super Bowl 2022 is expected to drop from $ 5.5 million this year to around $ 6 million. At this rate, it’s likely to eclipse the $ 545 million in revenue CBS Sports generated from the games in 2021.
The question is: in a new environment of television consumption, will the flagship NFL competition again consistently attract over 100 million viewers?
The Super Bowl hasn’t drawn 100 million spectators in two of the past three years, after nine straight years of total eclipse. The 2021 game for the Bucks vs Kansas City Chiefs game averaged 96.4 million viewers (including streaming). It is the least watched Super Bowl game since 2007.
NBC last aired the Super Bowl in 2018 and drew over 100 million viewers. The 2015 game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks remains the most-watched Super Bowl of all time, with nearly 114 million viewers, and that game was also NBC’s.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas | UNITED STATES TODAY SPORTS | Reuters
Brady should help kick things off
Brady has been in both games, getting off to a good start in 2021 on and off the pitch.
Brady, 44, won his seventh Super Bowl after leading the Bucks to the Chiefs, reclaiming the best-selling trading spot from Patrick Mahomes. He even ventured into the NFT business. On Thursday, he will also try to go higher in the record books.
Brady needs 300 passing yards to join quarterback-turned NBC sports analyst Drew Brees, the only two players in NFL history to have at least 100 career games of 300 or more passing yards. Doing this in a prime-time game should only help the storytelling component of the broadcast.
NBC aims to surpass the 19.3 million average viewers that its first game drew for the Chiefs and Houston Texans game last year. According to advertising data company EDO, the network reports about $ 50 million in ad spend for NFL openers.
The NFL season, a “monumental event” for betting companies
And with the return of football, more sports bettors will be trying to earn extra income around NFL games.
According to the American Gaming Association, a record 45.2 Americans are estimated to bet on games during the 2021 season, with 19.5 million bets placed online. The firm said Americans wagered $ 27 billion on the game in the first seven months of 2021, generating more than $ 350 million in federal, state and local taxes.
With states like Michigan, Virginia and Arizona now allowing legalized gambling, PlayUSA, which tracks regulated sports betting marketing in the United States, has estimated that players could bet more than $ 20 billion this season on betting related to the NFL and college football. Eh.
So far, the Chiefs and Bucks are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. A man from New Jersey had already bet $ 38,000 that the Books would end with a perfect record. The bet was made through Caesars Sportsbook and could fetch $ 1.3 million if the Books go undefeated.
Eric Hessian, co-chairman of Caesars Entertainment Digital, the division that operates its sports betting, called the start of the NFL season “a monumental event.”
He said Caesar’s technical teams were testing their system using large amounts of concurrent betting and trades to prepare for NFL betting volume this weekend.
“each [sportsbook] recognizes that the NFL is the premier betting opportunity for the season, and it’s the real catalyst for customers to come to your property, download your app or participate in the betting experience, ”Hessian told CNBC Wednesday.
Hessian said Caesars has already committed more than $ 400 million to its Parlay product, which offers a reward of $ 25 million every week during the season. In this product, the bookmakers place a bet of $ 10 and try to predict the point spread bet for each NFL game. The Parlay Card offer is available in New Jersey, Washington DC and Nevada.
With the return of NFL attendance and the responsiveness of restaurants and sports bars during the 2020 season after the pandemic has closed, Hessian predicted a “dramatic” increase in sporting stakes.
NFL business is booming
Caesars is one of the top three betting companies that made exclusive deals with the NFL last April. The deal allows Caesars to use NFL intellectual property around its sportsbook offerings, and it will also help the league grow domestic revenue.
According to Green Bay Packers shareholder records, the NFL generated approximately $ 9.8 billion in national income, with 32 teams each receiving a record $ 309 million. Much of the NFL’s revenue comes from sponsorships as well as media rights, which attracted $ 1.62 billion last season.
Preliminary estimates from sponsorship valuation company IEG suggest that figure will rise to $ 1.72 billion for the coming season. Additionally, IEG noted that tech sponsorship revenue from Cisco, Microsoft, and a beverage deal with alcoholic beverage company Diageo would help the NFL increase sponsorship funds.
Demoris Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, speaks during the NFLPA press conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center on January 30, 2020 in Miami Beach, FL.
Riche Gressel | Sportswire icon | Getty Images
NFLPA to start internal activities
In favor of the players, expect discussions on the Covid protocol and debate over the vaccine’s mandate to continue with the league throughout the year.
The union continues to advocate for daily testing for all players to help contain the outbreak, but the NFL has only approved testing once a week for vaccinated players and daily testing for those who do not. do not have any. Covid issues aside, the NFLPA also has some internal affairs to resolve.
The future of executive director DeMorris Smith is unclear, but more will be revealed this month. First, NFL players will launch an election to determine whether Smith will push to keep his position unopposed. Smith needed a unanimous vote on the NFLPA executive committee, or approval from the board, which is made up of players from all 32 NFL clubs. Here, Smith would need at least 17 out of 32 votes to retain the executive director’s seat or face opposition.
Smith was first elected in 2009, winning three elections to retain the post. Under Smith, the NFLPA expanded its operations, including entering into an equity deal with the Radicals, who would acquire their rights to market business cards. Under Smith, the NFLPA also renewed a licensing agreement with Electronic Arts, the maker of the popular Madden video game franchise, and increased its presence in professional video games.
Smith signed a new 10-year collective agreement with NFL owners last year. Under the deal, the minimum wage for inexperienced players has been increased again this season to $ 660,000 from $ 610,000 in 2020. This figure will rise to $ 45,000 per season for the remainder of the agreement. , to reach $ 1 million by 2030.
But it’s the CBA deal that keeps Smith’s future going.
The NFL added another regular season game to the pact. Some players are still unhappy with this, accusing union leaders of the additional health risks associated with additional competitions. Asked about Smith’s future after the 2020 labor deal, executive committee member Lorenzo Alexander told CNBC that a unanimous task force decision was unlikely.
“I can say that based on what happened last year, it will probably be open to the board, and they will have the option to decide what happens next,” Alexander said in March. 2020.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.