NFL Owner Debt Limit Increase: Is It a Good Idea?

NFL Owner Debt Limit Increase: Is It a Good Idea?

Key Points:

  • The NFL is considering raising debt limits for team owners to accommodate increasing financial demands.
  • Discussions among league owners revolve around setting the new limits at $1 billion for teams and $1.6 billion for buyers, with some advocating for a more conservative $800 million limit.
  • Despite the challenge of rising interest rates, the NFL’s robust financial position and massive television revenue ensure that boosting debt limits won’t jeopardize its financial stability.

In the world of the National Football League (NFL), discussions are buzzing within the finance committee about the possibility of a significant boost to the debt limits for team owners.

As things stand, team owners can currently carry a maximum debt load of $600 million for their franchises, while those looking to purchase a team can leverage up to $1.1 billion in debt. But here’s the scoop: insider talks with Forbes suggest these numbers may be in for an upgrade to $1 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively.

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The real debate, though, revolves around the debt that existing team owners can pile up. Some members of the finance committee are advocating for a more conservative bump, setting the limit at $800 million. To put it into perspective, the NFL recently upped the debt limit for current owners from $500 million to $600 million just a year ago, and in 2021, they raised the debt limit for prospective team buyers from $500 million to its current mark.

A prime example of this reliance on debt was seen when a consortium led by Josh Harris shelled out a hefty $6.05 billion for the Washington Commanders in July, with a cool $1 billion of debt in the mix.

But wait, there’s more: before any of these changes become official, they’ll need the green light from the NFL’s finance committee and the approval of at least 24 out of the league’s 32 owners. Sources in the know suggest that these new debt limits are likely to get the thumbs up by the end of this season.

Why all the fuss, you ask? Well, one major factor in the debate is the recent surge in interest rates. The most economical way for an owner to secure a loan is through the league itself. Historically, the NFL has borrowed at a rate of approximately 1.125 percentage points above the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. However, this rate has soared from 2.99% to a staggering 5.31% in the past year, plus an additional 10 basis points. As things stand, the NFL would be looking at a borrowing rate of about 6.54%.

Nevertheless, despite the rising interest rates, the NFL’s financial position seems to suggest that more leverage could be the right play. According to Forbes, the average NFL team’s debt amounts to only 9% of its overall value. Even those teams with relatively high levels of debt from new stadiums, such as the Las Vegas Raiders ($1.3 billion) and the Los Angeles Rams ($3.2 billion), don’t appear to be breaking a sweat when it comes to servicing their debt.

Let’s not forget the NFL’s treasure trove: a whopping $126 billion in television revenue that’s set to be evenly divided among its owners through 2032. Given this financial cushion, increasing the team debt limits shouldn’t pose any risks to the league’s high investment-grade ratings or its lending facilities.

Speaking of lending facilities, the NFL currently boasts an impressive $12.153 billion worth of various lending facilities available to its teams, ensuring a solid financial footing moving forward.

So, as the NFL ponders the possibility of increasing the debt limits for team owners, it’s clear that the financial landscape of the league remains strong, making room for strategic moves that will secure its future success.


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Ingrid Mueller

Ingrid Mueller, a literary expert with a Ph.D. in Literature from Yale University, brings a touch of artistry to her writing. Her critical analyses and cultural insights provide a fresh perspective on trending news. Ingrid's articles are a treat for those seeking a deeper understanding of the world around them. Explore the trends through her unique lens.

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