How to Own a NFL Football Team

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In 1920 George Halas bought the first National Football League team, the Chicago Bears, for $100. Today, that same team is estimated to be worth more than one billion dollars by Forbes magazine. NFL owners follow a strict set of rules that are designed to protect the league from corporate ownership, keeping the majority of the team owned by private individuals. The process of purchasing an NFL franchise is a long one, but no more complex than purchasing any other business.

Find NFL purchase opportunities. There are not always NFL franchise teams available. Controlling ownership of a team does not arise very often. In order to purchase a controlling ownership, you must purchase the largest percentage of the team and it must be at least 30%. To be an owner without a controlling interest is easier, since as little as 1% of a team can be purchased. Partial ownership opportunities tend to arise more often.

Investigate the available teams. Every year Forbes compiles a list of each team's financial standings. It includes revenue, expenses, facilities and overall brand value. This is a good place to start. When looking at a multi-million dollar investment such as this, it is also helpful to seek the advice of professional investment counselors.

Bid on the team. After researching the team, you will have a good idea of fair market value for the portion you are seeking. The owner can accept or reject your bid, or make a counter offer. This process may take several rounds before you and the current owner reach a price that you can agree on.

Take your bid to the other team owners. The NFL requires a vote from all the owners of all the other teams before a sale can be made. Even when the buyer and seller agree on the sale, the owners can vote to stop the transaction for any reason. They can also vote to allow the sale to proceed.

Complete the sale. After receiving permission from the owners, it is a simple matter of transferring the money and receiving the title of ownership.


The high price of NFL teams means that even a 1% stake in ownership can carry up to an $18 million price tag. It is important to use all the professional resources necessary to protect an investment of that size. Choose a lawyer as well as an investment counselor that you can trust.