The NFL in Saudi Arabia?
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, this could happen. Breer stated that the idea of Saudi Arabia buying an NFL team is “not out of line.”
Here’s what Breer had to say when a fan named Mike asked him, “When are the Saudis starting a football league?”
Mike, I hit up a couple team president types, and while I think starting a whole league isn’t happening, I don’t think it’s out of line to consider the idea that they could someday bid on an NFL team, and maybe even buy one. The nation’s public investment fund, which owns the LIV Golf tour (which just merged with the PGA Tour) and Newcastle United of the English Premier League, has poured endless money into sports, and few investments in any sport worldwide are as sure as buying an NFL team.
So it’d be a good business move for the Saudis to do it, and would give them the show of power and prestige, without question, they’ve looked for in all these investments—Going into the States and running a prominent pro sports team would be quite the flex.
Now, as of right now, I can’t imagine NFL owners would approve such a purchase. But the Commanders are going for $6.05 billion, and eventually the Seahawks will probably sell for more, with others likely to top wherever that price lands, as heirs inherit teams and face the reality of facing crippling estate taxes if they don’t sell. And as the price point goes up and up and up, the pool of capable buyers will continue to shrink.
Today, the NFL can still say no, because there are buyers willing and capable to pay the freight (Seattle could have Jeff Bezos and Steve Ballmer bidding). But eventually, that well will run dry, and the league will have to change its rules, and probably welcome in parties that it traditionally wouldn’t to keep raising the stakes on what these teams are worth. Which is where the Saudis would eventually have their shot.
Since the NFL owners would need to approve a purchase, it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.
However, Breer suggests that it may happen when the well of willing and capable buyers run dry.
Breer also completely rejects the idea of a football version of the PGA Tour vs. LIV coming about.