Robert Griffin, III, affectionately known as RGIII is one of the most talked about rookies this season. His latest talents have forged the Washington Redskins into the playoffs further solidifying his talents on the field. He’s not doing too bad off the field either. His jersey is the number one selling jersey in the NFL right now, out selling that of Peyton Manning and Brett Favre during their rookie seasons. RGIII is more than just an athlete. He’s a brand reminding us that there’s a business running these games.

Sports is a business – BIG business. In the United States alone, the NFL, America’s most popular sport ,grosses well over $10 billion a year. From apparel to ticket sales, advertising and travel, sports is as American as apple pie and the revenue it generates is the necessary ‘a la mode’.

Just ask RGIII. A few weeks ago he was fined $10,000 by the NFL for wearing an Adidas jersey. That may seem a bit unnecessary, but when Nike has invested about $1.1 billion into being the exclusive apparel provider for the NFL for the next five years, it IS serious. Exclusive means just that, and wearing apparel from a competing brand when you are arguably the highest rated rookie in the 2012 season is more than a mere violation of an NFL rule. It’s an enormous insult.

The basic nature of sports is two opponents trying to win. That drive, energy, discipline and skill is the engine that drives the play on the field or court. However, the engine driving the dynamics of the game is the business. Drafting the right rookie can make a “no name” team a household name. Winning a critical game propels the underdog into primetime television–generating millions of dollars in not only advertising revenue, but also in the sales of apparel and other team-logo’d items.

If all this doesn’t convince you, consider this: According to a Yahoo! Sports article:

  • Direct TV generates $600 million – $750 million on their ” NFL Sunday Ticket” subscriptions
  • In 2010, 65 of the top 100 watched sporting events in the United States were NFL games with 30 second Super Bowl ads costing $2.8 million.
  • Electronic Arts, the maker of the popular “Madden” football would lose about $165 million if the NFL remained in a lockout.
  • Americans spent more than $8 billion on sports logo apparel in 2009.
  • Spinoff industries like food and travel make millions of dollars during the NFL season and a lockout cripples their revenues.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is paying $1.2 billion over six years to make Bud Light the NFL’s official beer sponsor would see revenue down the drain if there was a lockout.
  • Visit Buffalo Niagara, estimates local hotels that play host to visiting NHL teams will lose between $850,000 and $1 million and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, says up to 1,700 riders use Metro Rail to attend each Sabres home game and the local economy is feeling the hit from the loss of the season.

And this is just football. Throw in the NBA, MLB, NASCAR and the NHL and you have a monstrous loss of dollars that would rival the national debt. Well, maybe not that much, but it would put a serious hurting on the economy.

So on any given Sunday when fans are yelling, screaming, clapping, and cheering in “fandamonium”  over their team, businesses and industries are doing the same because for all that noise equates to dollars–and jobs.

This is, afterall, a business.

Your Jersey Girlfriend,

~Angela Davis