National Football League (NFL) - Statistics & Facts

National Football League (NFL) - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts on the National Football League (NFL)

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional football league in the United States. The league was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association and played its inaugural season with eleven teams. Today, the NFL comprises 32 teams spread out over two conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC), that each consist of four divisions.


The NFL as a whole generates more than 8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue each season, the highest amount of all the major professional sports leagues in North America. In comparison, the revenue of Major League Baseball (MLB) was at 6.81 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) generate between three and four billion U.S. dollars in annual revenue. The Dallas Cowboys are the highest-grossing team in the league with more than 500 million U.S. dollars in revenue, with the New England Patriots, the Washington Redskins, the New York Giants and the New York Jets rounding out the top-5 in terms of revenue in 2012.

In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys were also the most valuable franchise in the NFL with an estimated value of 2.3 billion U.S. dollars according to Forbes. League-wide franchises were worth about 1.17 billion U.S. dollars on average. Compared to the NBA, MLB and the NHL, NFL franchises are the most valuable. The least valuable franchise is the Oakland Raiders with a value of 825 million U.S. dollars, still more than the estimated average value of teams in MLB (744 million U.S. dollars).

The NFL is also the professional sports league with the highest average per game attendance, drawing more than 67,000 spectators per game in the 2012 season, a total of more than 17 million. The average ticket price in the NFL was at 81.54 U.S. dollars in 2013 according to Team Marketing Report, marking the first time the average ticket price exceeded 80 U.S. dollars. Tickets to games of the New England Patriots are the most expensive (117.84 U.S. dollars). The least expensive tickets, based on the average ticket price, are for the Cleveland Browns’ games, with an average price of 54.20 U.S. dollars.

The annual championship game, the Super Bowl, is one of the biggest single day sports events in the world drawing high television ratings each year, generating several billion U.S. dollars in revenue consumer spending.
Photo: istockphoto.com / anthiacumming

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