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Saturday, March 2, 2024

NFL Debt Limit Increase Not As High As Anticipated

  • The NFL increased the amount of debt team owners can have to $700 million.
  • Some thought the league should make that figure as high as $1 billion.
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Amid skyrocketing NFL franchise valuations and rising operating costs, team owners are getting a little extra breathing room on the financial side of things — but not quite as much as some wanted.

At this week’s NFL fall meetings in New York, the league decided to allow existing owners an additional $100 million of debt. 

The ceiling now increases from $600 million to $700 million, but there was some discussion of raising that figure ever higher. The NFL owners’ finance committee had reportedly been exploring allowing up to $1 billion of debt. 

“I thought it should be closer to $1 billion,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said after the decision was made. “We’re always granting special waivers anyway — I’d rather see a higher debt limit in general.”

Still, the new $700 million figure is quite staggering when compared to recent years. In 2015, the debt limit was only raised from $200 million to $250 million.

Also under consideration was increasing incoming owners’ debt caps from $1.1 billion to as much as $1.6 billion. However, any new potential owners will simply see the same $100 million increase and will be allowed to carry $1.2 billion. Josh Harris’ group used $1 billion in debt to facilitate the recent $6.05 billion purchase of the Washington Commanders. 

Many anticipate that the Seattle Seahawks could be the next NFL franchise to be sold in the coming years — and with a recent valuation of $5 billion, any bidders may have to make full use of the new debt limits.

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