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June 30, 2011

Loss Season = Loss of $40 Million

Amanda Haddaway

The taxpayers of Maryland need a Hail Mary pass thrown by the NFL Players’ Association and the team owners. If the two can’t resolve their differences, Maryland may lose $40 million or more in tax revenue, according to a report recently released by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and the Board of Revenue Estimates.


Most people know that professional sports is big business, but many Marylanders may not realize what a large economic impact the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens have on our state’s economic landscape.


In these turbulent economic times, the state is in no position to lose out on such a large chunk of change. In fact, Comptroller Franchot should be commended for being the first comptroller in the country to take a look at what a cancelled season could mean. These figures should be a wake-up call to all states that are home to one or more NFL teams.


The report states that, “direct sources of revenue include income tax paid to the state of Maryland by players and other employees of an NFL team, sales tax from concession stands affiliated with the stadium or the sale of NFL merchandise, and the admissions and amusement tax, which is remitted upon purchase of an NFL ticket. Direct sources account for most of the tax revenue from the NFL, and hence would be the largest source of lost revenue in the event of cancelled games.”


The following table, also from the report, illustrates the numbers more clearly:


Total Revenue Loss by Tax Type (in millions of dollars)


Low Estimate

High Estimate

Income Tax



Admissions & Amusement Tax



Sales & Use Tax












Income Tax



Admissions & Amusement Tax



Parking Tax



Hotel Occupancy Tax









*figures may not sum to totals due to rounding


While the stadiums are located in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, other counties could be adversely impacted if these counties have multi-million dollar short falls, as illustrated in the local figures above. It is likely that these counties will be forced to ask the state for assistance and the funding to Frederick County could be decreased in a redistribution of available state funds.


Although many hope that there won’t be any lost games this season, even one cancellation has a significant impact. It’s estimated that each lost game accounts for $2 million in revenue.


There are also indirect revenues to consider in a lost season. For example, the sales at local bars, liquor stores and restaurants who cater to football fans during the pre-season, regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl. This figure is hard to calculate, but the state estimates that money lost in just this area could account more than $3 million in mostly sales and alcohol taxes.


Maryland simply can’t afford to be without football this year. Let’s hope that the players’ association and the team owners can come to some sort of agreement quickly.


A full copy of the report is available here.


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Public service announcement: The Frederick County Board of Elections wishes to announce the dates for the upcoming presidential elections. The primary election will be held April 3, 2012, and the general election will be held November 6, 2012.





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