Baseball might call itself “America’s Pastime”  — but the big money is in the NFL. And there’s the irony. In this capitalist paradise, the most watched sports league is unabashedly socialist.

Take revenues. The majority of the league’s income comes from TV —  which is divided equally — with no regard to performance. As is the revenue from the sales of licensed merchandise (with the exception of the Cowboys), Ticket revenue is divided 60/40 between the home and away teams. (Although the home team does keep the revenue from luxury boxes, concessions, and parking.)

Then there is the draft. The worst team gets the first choice. Which has a flavor of: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” And once drafted the player is guaranteed a minimum wage.

The teams operate with a salary cap. Which doesn’t just limit their payrolls (a ceiling) but also mandates they spend 90% of the cap (a floor) — they can’t just pocket the cash, they have to give a lot to the employees.

And when was the last time a team built a stadium without public subsidies?

Yet despite this communal approach to business, the owners are rolling in it. And their franchises are worth more than ever.

Ain’t socialism grand?


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