Jim Litke is gonna be upset.
The AP columnist who recently ripped the NFL’s efforts to do that which every successful business does — grow — surely will take issue with the league’s decision to expand beyond the traditional football universe.
“As our core business, we always focus on that, but it’s a sports and entertainment and media venture that the NFL has spun into,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy explained to Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger. “At one point it was just a game, but we’ve seen the value it has to other businesses. We see the value it has to Madison Avenue. We see the value it has to our media partners. So we’re continuing looking for ways to grow our business, expand the footprint of the NFL.”
This objective has prompted the NFL to launch a venture capital arm. Each team has kicked in $1 million, and Providence Equity Partners will pony up $250 million. That difference may seem out of whack, with the NFL contributing $218 million less than its partner. The gap comes from the power inherent to pro football.
“The NFL is contributing the shield, which does have a massive amount of value as an intangible,” Rob Tilliss, founder and CEO of investment bank Inner Circle Sports told Vorkunov. “So you could argue it’s pretty equal footing.”
He’s right, because the shield gives credence and credibility to anything it touches. From products to TV shows to movies to services to anything else to which the letters N, F, and L can be applied, the league currently is the business world’s equivalent of the Midas touch.
History tells us it won’t last forever. Which means they need to touch as much stuff as they can.