A Look at the Economics of the Dying NFL

A Look at the Economics of the Dying NFL
AP Photo/Wade Payne, File

Over the weekend, Will Leitch had a very smart piece about the NFL in New York magazine. You can read it here. I like Leitch a lot and this essay if very much worth your time. He contends that a variety of factors have converged to cripple the NFL—safety, politics, oversaturation—and that football may already be a dead sport walking.I'm paraphrasing and like I said, you should read his piece. But I want to take issue with one small section of it, which is trivial, and expand a bit on another, which is more consequential.First, here's Leitch contrasting the shrinking NFL with the expanding NBA:Compounding the problem—and the frustrations of NFL owners—has been the ascendancy of the NBA. Whereas the NFL felt like the sport that best fit the cultural spirit of the past decades of American life, it's the NBA that reflects the future. All at once, the NBA has one of its greatest-ever teams (the Golden State Warriors), led by an inner-sanctum future Hall of Famer (Kevin Durant) and the league's most beloved player (Stephen Curry); it has perhaps the best player since Michael Jordan (LeBron James), who also happens to be one of the most vital, globalist brand-called-me icons of our time; and it has a freewheeling, deeply pleasant style of play that is both an evolution of decades of on-court style and irresistible to watch. Perhaps more important, it has actively embraced the personalities, and the power, of its players, from the goofy man-child Twitter giddiness of 76ers star Joel Embiid to the Euro-charm of the Knicks' own Kristaps Porzingis to an unprecedented spate of political activism culminating in the still-surreal spectacle of LeBron calling President Trump U bum on Twitter (which actually shut Trump up; he hasn't talked about the NBA since). The NBA is vibrant and organic and alive; the NFL feels both toxic and bathed in amber.

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