It is hard to imagine that a league worth $91.365 billion looks to pinch pennies, but here we are.
According to Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, the NFL will be on the hook for roughly $75M if it is going to maintain daily testing. This level of testing is expected, but more importantly, this commitment is not a significant piece of the financial pie for the NFL.
For context, the NFL rights deal with ESPN is worth north of $2B by itself. If the league decides to give this a green light (of course it will), this investment will cost the average team around $2.3M. In other words, slightly higher than the salary for the average NFL kicker: $1.7M.
The NFL would love to push a narrative that making this investment is a hit to its bottom line, but it’s truly a distraction. At best, a smoke screen from the league doing everything it can to make this transition as financially flexible as possible.
The NFL will use this insignificant investment as an excuse to shift its responsibilities to serve the players the same way Major League Baseball tried. The NFL doesn’t, however, have the luxury of isolating its players into a bubble to keep positive COVID tests down. The increased roster sizes will only amplify that challenge, but the insinuation that spending $75 million on testing is significant in any way?
Roger Goodell was cornered by his past and present players in negotiations over player safety; so pretending to have too much on your plate is a predictable move. The players seem to get the message as “we’re ready to play” draped across the landscape of NFL Twitter this past week.
Training camp starts July 28.