National Football League (NFL) - Statistics & Facts

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 has increased its revenue every year for more than ten years now from around 6 billion U.S. dollars in 2004 to more than 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. In comparison, the revenue of Major League Baseball (MLB) was at 8.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) generated around six and four billion U.S. dollars in annual revenue respectively. The Dallas Cowboys are the highest-grossing team in the league with more than 700 million U.S. dollars in revenue, with the New England Patriots, the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants rounding out the top-5 in terms of revenue in 2015.

In 2016, the Dallas Cowboys were also the most valuable franchise in the NFL with an estimated value of 4.2 billion U.S. dollars according to Forbes. League-wide franchises were worth more than two 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 Buffalo Bills with a value of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, still more than the estimated average value of teams in MLB (1.3 billion U.S. dollars).

The NFL is also the professional sports league with the highest average per game attendance, drawing more than 69 thousand spectators per game in the 2016 season, a total of almost 18 million. The average ticket price in the NFL was at 85.83 U.S. dollars in 2015. Tickets to games of the New York Giants are the most expensive (123.4 U.S. dollars). The least expensive tickets, based on the average ticket price, are for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ games, with an average price of 57.65 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 consumer spending.

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