May 25, 2024

NFL could let owners sell up to 30 percent of teams to private equity funds

The NFL is moving closer to grabbing cash from private equity funds.

According to, the quarterly meetings held later this month could result in the passage of a rule allowing owners to sell up to 30 percent of the team to approved investment collectives. The most any one fund could own in any one team would potentially be 10 percent.

It’s possible that one fund could hold equity in multiple teams.

The percentages could change as the NFL’s special committee for considering the issue continues its work.

The issue wasn’t finalized at the league meetings in March. Speaking at the conclusion of that event, Commissioner Roger Goodell pegged May or October as more realistic targets. Owners meet four times per year — March, May, October, and December.

The potential shift comes at a time when franchise values are skyrocketing, to the point where it’s hard to find individuals who can satisfy the league’s ownership rules. If/when the rules allow private equity investments, existing owners could peel off a slice of the equity to sell to private funds. New owners could recruit equity funds to become part of the initial team of investors.

Over time, it will make the purchase of 100 percent of a team far less common, since the private equity funds will often remain in place after the transfer of control. Those funds eventually could end up with plenty of sway regarding who is and isn’t considered for membership in Club Oligarch.