A Look at Revenue Splits in the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA

Published on February 27th, 2020 12:05 am EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The money split between owners and players in North American Sports - Illustration. Earlier today, Adam Schefter, "senior NFL Insider" on ESPN, posted a Tweet in which he stated that the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, if approved by the players, would pay the NFL's players the highest percentage of revenues of any American professional sport.

The numbers would see the split between owners and players increase to 48% and then eventually 48.5% over the course of the deal.

Many objected to this Tweet, pointing out that other sports pay out a higher percentage of revenues to its players.

Now, let's look at the proposed new NFL CBA and how it would compare to other leagues in terms of the splitting of revenues.

New NFL Deal

Under the terms of the new CBA, the players would receive a guaranteed 48% of revenues in 2021. This number would increase to 48.5%, via a "media kicker", for any season that includes 17 regular season games (an increase from the current 16 regular season games).

NBA Deal

Under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, players will earn "no less" than 49% of basketball-related income (BRI) and no more than 51%. The collective bargaining agreement maintains a 49-51% "band" in order to account for years when the league falls short or exceeds its revenue projections.

Basketball related income includes a number of different revenue sources, including regular season ticket sales, premium seat licenses, national broadcast rights and more.

MLB Deal

These numbers are hard to come by, as Major League Baseball keeps its books closed.

According to reports that have not been disputed by Major League Baseball or its players, players typically receive between 48.5% - 51.5% of total revenues, and this has been the case for more than a decade.

Some people argue that the number is closer to 54-55% if all player benefits are included.

NHL Deal

Hockey-related revenues are split down the middle, 50/50.

If player salaries exceed 50% of revenues in a given season, escrow money is withheld by the league to even things up.

Hockey-related revenues include ticket sales, broadcast deals and more.

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