Amid all the hand-wringing and propagandizing over the damage done to the NFL’s popularity by player protests during pregame national anthem ceremonies, the important available numbers continue to paint a picture of a league that is invulnerable to controversy. The NFL’s ratings are up in relation to general TV viewership trends, and now this: the NFL distributed more than $8 billion—a new record—via revenue sharing in 2017, per a report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
The bump is an increase of 4.9 percent in national revenues, attributed to an escalator in the league’s TV deals and the league’s Thursday Night Football package becoming more valuable.
Packers president Mark Murphy said any effects from the NFL’s tough season, including the national anthem controversy, did not manifest in the books.
The $7.8 billion in revenue the league shared in 2016 was also a record, one easily surpassed last season. The revenue sharing data comes by way of the Green Bay Packers, whose books are public, and in their specific case, both national television revenue and local revenue increased, according to Forbes:
Green Bay’s local revenue increased to $199 million from $197.4 million (0.8%). Sponsorship, gameday revenue, broadcast fees, as well as the Packers’ Pro Shop and team Hall of Fame constitute that number.
And Rovell’s report says more than 99 percent of Packers season ticket holders renewed for this upcoming season, following the team’s first missed postseason since 2008. Even failure can’t push people away. Teams are healthy, the league is healthy.
This will of course not discourage any deeply senile wannabe dictators from fucking this particular chicken until it’s just a pile of gooey red feathers, but it should serve to remind the rest of us that no amount of alarming brain injuries or chewed-up ex-players or off-field controversy or heavy-handed disciplinary craziness or pregame activism has yet done anything to meaningfully penetrate the NFL’s stranglehold on the collective American attention span every fall and winter Sunday. The NFL is unstoppable.