It’s pretty simple… One league is professional football and the other is college football.
The NFL (NFL) was founded in 1920 and is officially called the National Football League. However, if you played high school football you know what I’m talking about. College football started around 1870 and many people don’t even realize the difference between the two leagues.
In the NFL, players are paid millions of dollars and they make their money playing a game of football. In college football, athletes get paid less than half as much as the pros, but they still play a physical sport.
What makes college football different? Basically there is not an opportunity to make a lot of money off of a single game. And unlike the NFL, where teams have multiple games per year, college football only has 1 game per season. So how do these 2 leagues compare in terms of revenue?
College Football Revenue: $8 billion/year
So, if we take a quick look at each individual team’s annual revenues, we can see that the NFL has a higher number compared to the college football league. The average revenue for each team in 2017 was $226 million. That means that the average NFL team earns almost double what the average NCAA college team earns.
While revenue is the primary way to measure success in sports, one thing you may notice is that revenue is not always directly related to championships won. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers for example. Their winning percentage over the last 5 years is 0%. Meanwhile their revenue has been increasing consistently since 2004. What’s going on here?
You see, the NFL is a business and the Pittsburgh Steelers are simply the best product for them to sell. Winning doesn’t matter anymore, just making money does. If you’re looking for the highest paying sport based on winning percentage, check out the NBA. Teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers pay their players and staff less money despite having record breaking regular seasons.