The Real Reason the NFL Refuses to Let COVID-19 Ruin the Season

COVID-19 has caused many problems for the NFL. From outbreaks to social distancing requirements, fans have worried about the NFL continuing the season. But there are a lot of reasons why the season has gone on, despite numerous setbacks. The solutions have been innovative, but the NFL’s determination to complete the season boils down to one thing: money.

NFL challenges due to positive cases

The NFL challenges aren’t new: The MLB also faced them. When there were a lot of positive tests there, schedule shuffling occurred. Since then, the sport ran smoothly through the World Series. But this isn’t the case with the NFL because it’s not possible to have players play back-to-back games.

Rescheduling games could be a nightmare if positive cases mount. The NFL is already experiencing scheduling nightmares, and months are left in the season. There’s little margin for error with rescheduling.

Increased outbreaks

NFL involves a lot of traveling, like with other sports, but this traveling increases the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks. The MLB has a plan similar to the NFL and have tested players vigilantly, but haven’t done enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Other sports using “bubbles” show to have a lower spread of COVID-19.

The outbreaks had by the MLB and NFL don’t just impact the victims of the virus. In some cases, despite having players test positive, the MLB has had players take the field. While the NFL is aware of these challenges, it has continued its plans to travel and a full season. But why are they being so gung-ho on this?

COVID-19 and NFL revenue loss

Eagles and Cowboys fans celebrate during a game
Eagles and Cowboys fans during a game | Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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There’s a lot at stake financially for the NFL in 2020. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Yahoo Sports estimated that the NFL’s revenue would be about $16.5 billion. National and team revenue both contribute to the NFL; COVID-19 impacts both of these resources. Team revenue is often from game day and involves things like ticket sales and concessions. This type of team revenue is the most impacted by COVID-19.

Not all teams are the same in terms of revenue. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, have the most to lose. With this type of risk, it’s no surprise that the Cowboys invite 24,000 fans for each game. The Las Vegas Raiders, on the other hand, decided to keep fans out for the entire season. Then again, this team has the least to lose.

Merchandising and licensing deals create national revenue. All teams get some of this type of revenue. Broadcasting is another big element of national revenue. However, there are still a lot of problems. There’s still significant health risk.

COVID-19 is a problem across all sports. The NFL has some of the biggest coming up due to outbreaks. The NFL is continuing its season due to the fact that it’s put too much into it money-wise to back out now, but it doesn’t mean that COVID-19 won’t cause this to happen. Currently, games are still being played, although some have had to be rescheduled due to outbreaks.

However, if the current trends of COVID-19 outbreaks continue, it’s unclear if this will continue to be the case. It may be that there are too many positive cases to allow for safe play. It may be that the NFL has to rethink its plan to have the season in full. A modified season may be more effective and, while the NFL, like other sports, would lose money, it might not be as much. Keep watching to see what happens.