The Business of the NFL

This article was written by Phin Upham

The National Football League began in 1892 with a simple transaction. Yale All-American guard William Heffelfinger was paid a small sum of money to play with the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. This was the first time a football player was paid to play on a higher level, but the league didn’t find organization until 1920.

On September 17th of 1920, The American Professional Football Association was formed, including ten different teams from four separate states. The APFA lasted for two seasons, until it was reorganized under the name: NFL.

Today, there are only two teams currently in the NFL that have been there since the beginning. The Decatur Staleys, which are now known as the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Cardinals, now the Arizona Cardinals. Though the Greenbay Packers were founded in 1919, they didn’t officially join the league until 1921. They are considered the oldest team in the league to maintain the name they started with.

The NFL held its first official championship in 1933, following a steady flow of new teams being added to the ranks. The Super Bowl, which is now one of the most watched events on live television, officially started in 1960 with the merger of the American Football League and the NFL.

The NFL has managed to become America’s sport of choice through deals with network television stations to broadcast its games. It currently has a list of 32 teams in the league, and it is the only professional sports league that has avoided all work stoppages since 1990.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.