It’s October and the NFL is once again covered head-to-toe in pink accessories and equipment as part of the league’s Breast Cancer Awareness initiative.
While fans can also purchase pink clothing and accessories to support the cause, a shockingly small amount of the fans’ money is actually going towards cancer research.
According to data obtained from the NFL by Darren Rovell of ESPN, the NFL “takes a 25% royalty from the wholesale price (1/2 retail), donates 90% of royalty to American Cancer Society.”
In other words, for every $US100 in pink merchandise sold, $US12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $US11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NFL keeps the rest. The remaining money is then divided up by the company that makes the merchandise (37.5%) and the company that sells the merchandise (50.0%)
Then consider that only 71.2% of money the ACS receives goes towards research and cancer programs.
In the end, after everybody has taken their cut,
only 8.01% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise is actually going towards cancer research(see right).
According to the NFL, any money they take in, that is not donated to ACS, is used to cover the costs of their breast cancer awareness program, “A Crucial Catch.” The NFL also told Business Insider they donated approximately $US1 million per year to the ACS in the first three years of the program.
Still, there are unanswered questions about where the money is going and who is profiting.
The most popular place to purchase pink merchandise is at the NFL’s online shop, official team stores, and at the stadiums. In these cases, the NFL and the individual teams are acting as the retailer.
It is unclear how much of the 50% markup for items being sold directly by the NFL and the teams is going to the ACS, if any at all.
Of course, in addition to money, the NFL is also raising awareness for breast cancer and it is hard to put a value on that.
If fans want to show support for their team and for breast cancer awareness, that is great. But if the point is to actually help fight cancer, fans would have a much bigger impact if they skipped the NFL and donated directly to the ACS or other organisations working to fight cancer.
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