Previously, the NFL required (except in Green Bay, where the franchise is publicly held) that at least one person own at least 30 percent of each team. The league has since softened the rule to permit the 30-percent stake to be held be the same family, with one person owning at least 10 percent of the team.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the league is discussing the possibility of reducing the minimum from 30 percent to 25 percent. Per Kaplan, the issue did not come up for a vote at the league’s meetings last week in New Orleans.
The change would make it easier for families to continue to own a team after the passing of a person who owns a piece of it. Given that estate taxes must be paid by those inheriting a portion of the team, some families may be required to sell off a slice of the franchise in order to raise the money that the federal government collects for the privilege of dying. The change, if passed, essentially would allow a family owning 30 percent of a franchise to sell five percent for the purposes of paying the estate tax.
Such a move would provide a one-generation stopgap on the problem, however. Once a family drops to 25 percent, the estate tax would have to be paid the next time a person owning a piece of the team passes.
Maybe by then the league will drop the amount to 20 percent.