Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Awful Announcing Wednesday Newsletter is a deep dive into all things sports media with original commentary, highlights from the week, social media buzz, and much more. Below is our “A Block” that leads off the newsletter. You can read this and more by subscribing here. We send a recap of what’s been on AA on Monday and Friday mornings as well as the extended original version on Wednesdays.

Roger Goodell and NFL owners have a single goal in mind – to make as much money as Mr. Burns, Scrooge McDuck, and Richie Rich combined. When it comes to any decision the NFL makes, money is at the heart of it. The 17 game schedule, international games all over the globe, the continued existence of the preseason, the traveling NFL Draft circus – all of it is to make more money.

What could explain the rationale of putting an NFL playoff game, one of the most highly-watched programs on television, behind an exclusive paywall? Simply this – it made the NFL a lot of money. Comcast and NBC Universal paid $110 million to the NFL in the hopes that you will pay $4.99 a month to buy their product.

But it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall growth in revenue in the NFL’s new media deals that will begin this year. Looking at the entire schedule, the NFL will make an incredible $5 billion more in rights fees revenue compared to their previous contracts. How so? Let’s do the math.

When the NFL signed its main broadcast deals with CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, and Amazon it managed to increase its annual revenue from a reported $5.9 billion per year to $10.3 billion per year, a $4.4 billion gain. This is thanks to the expanded schedule, more playoff games, Thursday nights on Amazon, and more. The NFL also gained $500 million from their new Sunday Ticket deal with YouTubeTV increasing the fee from $1.5 billion with DirecTV to $2 billion annually.

Alas, that wasn’t enough. The NFL has also auctioned off not only the Peacock playoff game for $110 million but also the Black Friday game to Amazon for somewhere between $70-100 million according to Peter King. That’s an added $200 million.

Add it all up and there it is. Five. Billion. Dollars.

The NFL does it because they know consumers and corporations will continue to write them blank checks. As the dominant sports and entertainment force in America, they can charge whatever they want, whenever they want, however often they want without fear of reprisal or losing fans.

At some point, though, the question will become whether the thirst for revenue will backfire. How many billions will it take to satisfy Goodell and NFL owners? Five? Fifty? Five hundred? How many games will be put behind paywalls? How many more exclusive windows can be created? How much more cash will it cost to maintain your NFL fandom? Until a boundary is set, the NFL will keep pushing for more.

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