NFL owners voted to allow teams an additional $100 million in debt, raising the overall limit per team to $700 million, with the league continuing to adapt to skyrocketing team valuations and rising interest rates.
(Bloomberg) — NFL owners voted to allow teams an additional $100 million in debt, raising the overall limit per team to $700 million, with the league continuing to adapt to skyrocketing team valuations and rising interest rates.
The decision to increase the debt limit came from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who originally proposed to increase the limit to $800 million but settled for $700 million.
“I thought it should be closer to $1 billion,” Irsay said in an interview after the league meeting. “We’re always granting special waivers anyway, I’d rather see a higher debt limit in general.”
The NFL has long had conservative debt limits, but with the rapid increase in team valuations, it has steadily allowed more borrowing against teams. That’s in part to make any potential sale more attractive to buyers, with any potential owner knowing they could put more debt onto the team.
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In 2015 the NFL raised the debt limit from $200 million to $250 million. By last year it had reached $600 million.
Owners can borrow directly from the NFL, but with rising interest rates the costs of doing so have also risen dramatically.
The league did not vote on raising the debt limit to purchase a team. In acquiring a team, a buyer can only have $1.1 billion of debt. The most recent purchase of an NFL team came in July, with Josh Harris buying the Washington Commanders for $6.05 billion, a deal that used $1 billion of debt.
Revenue for the NFL continues to balloon. The league’s media deal with its partners is worth over $100 billion. Additionally, the NFL makes $2 billion a year from YouTube TV, which owns the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. NBC also paid $110 million to exclusively stream an NFL playoff game next year.
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