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If the NFL Were a Real Business

Goodell (left) with first-round pick Jadeveon Clowney during the 2014 NFL draft
Goodell (left) with first-round pick Jadeveon Clowney during the 2014 NFL draftPhotograph by Elsa/Getty Images

The National Football League is not formally a business. Technically, it is a nonprofit organization that funnels money back to the individual teams that make up the league. As a whole, the NFL’s revenue is estimated to be about $9.5 billion per year. The overall market value of the 32 teams that make up the league is estimated to be $46 billion.

So if the NFL were a real company—let’s say, for the sake of argument, with a market capitalization of $46 billion, based on its teams’ total value and annual revenues of $9.5 billion—which companies would it most resemble? Looking at the 14 Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index 500 companies with the most comparable revenue numbers (from $9 billion to $10 billion), the NFL has, by far, a higher market cap than any of them: