Despite a banner season for National Football League ratings and the upcoming playoffs and Super Bowl, the league is conducting voluntary buyouts to at least 200 employees who received offers Monday, a league source confirmed.
Sports Business Journal first reported the buyouts, and a league source confirmed the reporting. The NFL offered the tenured employees three weeks salary for every year served, as well as bonuses, SBJ said. The buyouts go to roughly 18% of the 1,100 league staff members, which is separate from the ownership and staff of the 32 teams in the league.
Employees have to make a decision on their offer by late February – after the Super Bowl LVIII on February 11 this year, SBJ reported.
In a statement, the NFL said it has defined its “strategic priorities and identified areas for significant growth and investment.”
“Those areas – such as international expansion, the growth of flag football, and the continued development of media and digital platforms – will help shape the future of the game. And the internal operations – how we operate, where we invest our capital, and the workforce – must evolve to align with these strategic priorities to best position the league for continued success,” the statement continued.
The league has enjoyed a steady increase in viewership. A Sportico report citing Nielsen ratings found that last year, the NFL made up 93 of the top 100 broadcast programs. That’s compared to 82 in 2022 and 72 in 2020. Its revenues have also grown to roughly $12 billion in 2022, up from $8 billion per year in 2010 according to some reports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he wants to see $25 billion in yearly league revenue by 2027.
Taylor Swift’s high-profile relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is one element that might have drawn in some viewers who didn’t watch NFL games in the past. In the Chiefs-Jets thriller in October 2023, attended by Swift and a star-studded entourage, the broadcast had a surge of more than 2 million female viewers. It garnered an average of 27 million viewers, which NBC said at the time was the most-watched Sunday show since the 2023 Super Bowl.
– CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.