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Audited Financial Statements for NFL Ventures, L.P. Are Now Available for Your Viewing Pleasure

Today in leaked sports organization financial statements news, Deadspin’s latest scoop is the audited financial statements of NFL Ventures, L.P. and Subsidiaries. NFL Ventures consists of the following subsidiaries: NFL Enterprises, NFL Properties, NFL Productions and NFL International. These companies perform operations from broadcasting to advertising to the NFL Network to Super Bowl hospitality.

As you can imagine, professional football in the United States is a pretty lucrative business. Forget the mess that is the

Ugh. That’s an ugly one, huh? I managed to get pretty close on the math, however. If you multiply the total expenses by 1.09 and then subtract that total from the gross revenues of $1.7 billion, you get the $1.2 billion (within $15-20 million or so). Craggs writes that this “accounts for the drop in net income” although that doesn’t seem correct (I emailed him to see if he can clarify) but is correct in saying that this remittance is simply “money moving from one pocket to another.”

Other than that, the report, also audited by Deloitte, is fairly lengthy and seems fairly innocuous since the companies as a whole appear to be extremely healthy (e.g. robust working capital, growing operating profit, impressive cash flow). There was a cash distribution FYE ’10 of $136 million to the limited partners, however nothing else really stands out.

Of course if you’re a rabid football fan, this is all quite infuriating because it stands as evidence that the team owners simply want more money for themselves. And Craggs smartly points out that since the G-3 program ran dry in ’07, that left some owners in the lurch:

[T]he case could be made that the real dispute at the heart of the lockout lay between the owners who’d exploited the G-3 program to build bright new revenue-generating stadiums and those who hadn’t and now couldn’t because their peers had burned through the fund. In this light, the lockout looks like something else entirely — less a battle between management and labor and more a proxy war in which the owners, unwilling to fight each other for money, decided to extract it from the players instead.

The full report is on the next page. Enjoy.

Nfl Ventures

Let’s Dig into the NFL League Office’s Audited Financial Statements, Shall We?

Once again, Deadspin has scooped up some audited financial statements of a sports organization and this time it’s a big fish – the National Football League League Office. Audited by Deloitte, these financial statements (in full on page 2) present the Statement of Financial Condition (I’ll call this the balance sheet to keep things easy), Statement of Activities and Changes in Net Liabilities (going with income statement here), and Statement of Cash Flows with the accompanying notes for the years ended March 31, 2010 and 2009. All right, let’s do this.

The presentation for the balance tement is broken out between the NFL League Office, the League’s G-3 Stadium Program with the total of the two making up the third column. Tommy Craggs focuses primarily on the G-3 Stadium Program which he points out is “a matter that lies at the heart of lockout.”

The G-3 Program is interesting because this is how the league has financed the boom of new stadiums in the last year or so. Currently 13 teams are involved in the program for twelve new stadiums (the Jets and the Giants get to share). Here’s the table from Note 5:

It’s pretty amusing to see some of the disparity in this table, most notably the Detroit LionsGreen Bay Packers owing the League a measly $6.9 million while the Jets and Giants owe over $150 million each. The total owed by the two New York teams accounts for over 40% of the total for FYE ’10 (and the principal balance managed to go up for both, the Chiefs being the only other franchise to have this happen). These funds owed to the League compromise for over 80% of their total assets, financed by notes payable that compromise more than three-quarters of the total liabilities. Essentially, the crux of the organization’s balance is in play here. Obviously, the culture of cheap cash in the Aughts was not lost on the ownership and if banks were handing out money left and right, why not take advantage?

Here are the details on the notes payable:

As you can see, the fun ended in 2008, just as things were getting interesting. The League has entered into a half dozen of interest rate swaps to protect themselves with notional amounts of $249 million.

Some other notable items:

• The Game Officials’ Pension Plan (under Note 7) is underfunded by approximately $20 million, although the majority of the benefit payments come between 2016 and 2020.

• Related Parties (Note 8) has plenty to dig through, however one thing that sticks out is under “Other Related Party Transactions” is the $2 million loan made to “a senior executive” in May 2007. As of March 31, 2010 not a cent of this had been paid back and the note states that “In accordance with the terms of an employment agreement” an amendment was made in March 2010.

• The following paragraph under “Other Related Party Transactions” discusses “amended certain terms of an employment agreement with an executive, including certain termination rights.” This executive can request renegotiation “following ratification of a new CBA agreement [repetitive?].” If a new employment deal cannot be reached, the executive can execute termination rights for approximately $19 million which is equivalent to two years compensation. Just spitballin’ here but it wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that this part of Roger Goodell’s deal.

• Hilariously, under “Litigation” the matter of Richardson et al. v. NFL et al. we find that Drug Program Agents (i.e. guys who collect cups of piss) sued the NFL and several of its affiliates for treating them as independent contractors as opposed to employees. This was filed in 2007 but in 2008, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint for “typographical errors” but the complaint didn’t change. In other words, the plaintiffs’ lawyers didn’t use spellcheck. Ultimately the claims were dismissed in 2009 against the NFL but a settlement was reached between the NFL Management Council and the piss collectors.

WHEW! Lots of good stuff in there, so enjoy over the weekend. Deadspin is promising more “documents from a different arm of the NFL,” so hopefully we’ll see more pieces of this. Stay tuned!

NFL League Office

Disney CFO: ESPN Will Be Fine If There’s a NFL Lockout

As the National Football League and the players union continue contract talks, Walt Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo was pressed Tuesday to answer questions about how a potential strike or lockout would impact sports juggernaut ESPN. Rasulo expressed confidence that Disney’s lucrative sports network, which has the rights to “Monday Night Football,” could weather the loss of games, telling the audience at Credit Suisse’s Global Media and Communications Convergence Conference that “we’re not that concerned.” [LAT]

NFL CFO Sick of Working for a Shrewd, Egotistical Organization; Returning to Goldman Sachs

Two years working for Roger Goodell must have been pure hell, compared to reporting to Lloyd.

Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto is leaving the NFL after two years to return to Goldman Sachs.

Tony will be slumming it in IBD as the co-head of the Global Media Group. The NFL is cool with it though; they understand that not everyone is cut out for the big leagues. The good news is they’ve still got a Team Jehovah alum heading up the Finance Department:

The league said Monday that Eric Grubman will oversee the finance group at least until the end of collective bargaining negotiations with the NFL Players Association. Grubman is executive vice president of business operations and led the league’s finance operations when he joined the NFL in 2004.

NFL CFO Anthony Noto returning to Goldman Sachs [AP]

Of Course an Accountant Is the World’s Top Fantasy Football Player

As you’re no doubt aware, this past Saturday the college football season began and on Sunday the NFL kicks off their season. For many of you with a pigskin-crazed significant other, this means that you won’t be seeing much of him or her on the weekends for the rest of the year.

This also means that thousands of hours will be wasted by (primarily) men at work and in their free time, antagonizing over the players on their rosters* and coming up with lame trash talk for their upcoming opponents. For the most part, the gajillion of dollars lost in productivity and the strain put on relationships is accepted by society (there are exceptions).

Football is more of a religion than any of the faiths these days anyway. Plus, we’re fairly certain that men sitting on their asses while ingesting meat and watching freakishly obsese men (and a few athletes) sacrifice life and limb is all but guaranteed by The Constitution. Fantasy football is a mere extension of this phenomenon.

Anyway, there has to be a king of this geekfest of stats, laptops and greasy food and his name is John Rozek. And he is an accountant.

More technically, Rozek is “king of fantasy football by the World Championship of Fantasy Sports, the big dog in big-money, faux-football leagues.” The World Championship of Fantasy Sports (“WCOFS”) will be awarding $2 million in prize money this year which should allow some of the big winners to actually get laid.

Rozek (who won $25k last year in various leagues) doesn’t claim to be a guru, just smarter than the born losers he plays against, “You have to take advantage of people not making the best picks,” he told the Trib. “And you can’t fall in love with players.”

This really shouldn’t surprise you one iota. Looking over a mess of seemingly meaningless numbers, maintaining objectivity, impervious to distractions like spouse, kids, etc. when its busy and/or football season is what accountants so good at their jobs in the first place. It’s like revealing that an accountant is the best at stamp collecting (we’re sure it’s a fine hobby) or a World of Warcraft champion. Most people’s reaction would be, “Meh. I could’ve guessed that.”

Chicago accountant is world’s top-ranked fantasy football player [CT]

*Full disclosure: I am in one league and my team will be dominating this year.