The controversy over the National Football League and President Donald Trump over the weekend has cast a spotlight on the earnings of the top players. But the big bucks from the NFL continue to flow to the owners — and the soaring values of their teams.
Despite falling television ratings, concerns over head injuries and the protest controversy, the values of NFL teams continue to soar.
The combined value of the 32 NFL teams now top $100 billion, according to Forbes. Team values are up an average of 8 percent from last year — and the top teams are up even more.
The Dallas Cowboys remain the most valuable team in American sports, worth $4.8 billion, up 14 percent from the year earlier, Forbes reported.
Owner Jerry Jones has proven to be a master of monetization, raking in millions from a new practice facility and setting up investments and companies that span the league.
The New England Patriots ranked second, worth $3.7 billion, with their merchandise sales up 50 percent after their big Superbowl comeback win last year.
TV and media still generate the biggest bucks for the league, pulling in $7.5 billion last year from media deals. But a surprising amount of revenue and growth is coming from corporate sponsorships — especially from stadiums.
According to Forbes, the Miami Dolphins got a $250 million naming rights deal with Hard Rock. The Atlanta Falcons saw their value jump 19 percent after $900 million in sponsorships for their new Mercedes-Benz stadium.
All of that explains why at least 19 of the NFL owners are now billionaires.