The National Football League (NFL), considered the strongest of the major North American professional sports leagues, will eliminate 150 jobs in the next 60 days, officials announced Tuesday.
The layoffs account for about 14 percent of the NFL’s total staff of 1,100, according to the league. Individual teams have their own employees who will not be a part of this move. The league has staffers representing the league office, NFL Films and the NFL television network and Web site, but exactly where the cuts will come from was not disclosed.
“They will come from across all business units,” league spokesperson Brian McCarthy told TicketNews.
While overall ticket sales remain relatively strong for the NFL this season, only two teams, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, currently rank among the ten Top Sports Events for the week ending December 7, according to TicketNews’s exclusive industry rankings. According to Reuters, the league sold a record 22.3 million tickets during the 2007-08 season, and sales so far this season are only down about 1 percent.
But, like NASCAR and the television networks, the NFL has seen an undisclosed amount of its sponsorship and advertising money fluctuate as businesses look to cut expenses.
“Our revenue reduction is quite small, but it looms large, because the margins at the National Football League in total are not enormous,” NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman was quoted as saying during the recent Reuters Media Summit in New York. He added that no-shows have slightly increased at games, and that the league may begin to see a negative impact of the slow economy next season, but due to the league’s overall size he is confident it will prevail relatively unscathed.
The first step in the staff reduction will come through “a voluntary separation program” that will be offered to personnel this week, according to the league.
“These are difficult and painful steps, but they are necessary in the current economic environment,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement to his staff on Tuesday. “I would like to be able to report that we are immune to the troubles around us, but we are not. Properly managed, I am confident the NFL will emerge stronger, more efficient and poised to pursue long-term growth opportunities.”