These are audited financial statements for the NFL's league office, the nerve center of professional football, covering the years ended March 31, 2009, and March 31, 2010. The documents below deal with only one piece of NFL operations, and there aren't any obviously mind-melting revelations about the financial state of the league as a whole. But the statements do offer a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the NFL's stadium-financing program, a matter that lies at the heart of lockout.
We'll have more documents for you from a different arm of the NFL next week. For now: the league office. Take a look at the fifth note, "DEBT AND G-3 STADIUM PROGRAM." The NFL, through what's known as G-3 funding, offers low-interest loans to teams that are building stadiums. (The idea, at least initially, was to keep teams in large TV markets from moving to smaller markets in pursuit of lucrative stadium deals. Because the NFL has national television contracts, owners are cossetted from the costs of leaving big cities.) The G-3 program, launched in 1999 after the Patriots' flirtation with Connecticut had ended, was maybe the principal force behind the stadium-building boom of the last decade. By one calculation [pdf], G-3 funding accounted for one-fourth of the private share of the stadiums' total cost. Loans are repaid, as the documents below explain, with the visiting team's cut of certain gate receipts from G-3 stadiums. Here are teams' outstanding principal and interest balances as of March 31 in both years:
The fund ran out of money in 2007 — which the audit note seems to acknowledge ("[T]he G-3 Stadium Program, in its current form, is not available for additional projects without Member Club approval") — and there's no question that the evaporation of G-3 money played an enormous role in the owners' decision to pull out of the 2006 CBA. In the past, the NFLPA had to approve any new G-3 loan, which is why the fund was subject to collective bargaining. What the program will look like under a new CBA is anyone's guess.
NFL League Office, 2009 & 2010 [Download as PDF]