The NFL paid Roger Goodell $44 million in 2014.
TMZ reportedly paid 0.2 percent of that to put their hands on the video that Goodell could not.
According to an investigation into the celebrity gossip site by Nicholas Schmidle of the New Yorker, TMZ paid $100,000 for the video of then-Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiance Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator and a previous video of the two of them.
The second video would get Rice released and bring scorn upon Goodell and his office, since they hadn’t been able to put their hands on the video themselves (among other reasons).
According to the story, a surveillance officer who was monitoring the video footage at the casino recorded the infamous incident on his cell phone, and then called TMZ. He left a message on their tip line.
Four days after the February 2014 incident, they posted a clip of Rice dragging Palmer’s body out of the elevator (from which one with curiosity might have surmised something happened in there). That one reportedly cost them $15,000.
The next one, which dropped on Sept. 9, showed Rice punching Palmer in the face, the video that launched a thousand ships. That one reportedly cost them nearly $90,000, though TMZ referred to the numbers as “overblown.”
Whatever it cost, it was worth it to TMZ in publicity, and is a fraction of what the league has spent since then on investigators and investigations, after one of their biggest public relations disasters in the league’s history.