This is a Scandal??

How is this a scandal?

While fans can also purchase pink [NFL Branded] 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 $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 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%), which is often the NFL and the individual teams.

How is this "shockingly small"?  A donation of 11.25% of the retail price, and 22.5% of the wholesale price,  of a piece of clothing is a pretty hefty.  What do they expect?  All the author is doing is demonstrating his (her?)  ignorance of retail and clothing net profit margins.  In particular, how can you try to make the NFL the bad guy for donating 90% of the money they actually get?  It's their program, they can't donate the clothing manufacturer's money.

And besides, the NFL should be congratulated for being open about the numbers -- there is often zero transparency in such charitable promotional programs.  How much of the money in the last charity gala you attended do you think actually made it to the charity rather than just help fund the self-aggrandizement of their socialite sponsors?


  1. mesaeconoguy:

    Not sure I follow the breakdown (poorly written), but fwiw Darren Rovell used to be the CNBC bot covering sports, and other minutiae before he jumped ship to ESPN.

    Nothing good has ever, ever come from CNBC. Ever. Which is why no one watches anymore.

  2. Another_Brian:

    "a shockingly small amount of the fans' money is actually going towards cancer research."

    And if you look through the ACS' financial records, you'll find that they only allocate about 22.5% of donations toward research.

  3. jimbeaux:

    I'm always amazed at the "pink outs" in October, especially among activities that are primarily male-oriented. Why doesn't the NFL do the same for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (November)? More men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year than women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and the mortality rates are nearly the same. You would think that a male sport, with male officials, and mostly male fans, would be raising money to help male victims of cancer.

    The same thing with all the beer breweries that have "pink outs". My local brewery - Terrapin - just finished one that was so popular they had to turn folks away. Yet the vast majority of beer drinkers are male.

    Besides the obvious marketing problems (everyone loves breasts, hardly anyone loves prostates), is it just that the prostate cancer research organizations aren't making enough effort?

    I would like to see the NFL have a "Blue out" and would like to see blue shoes, blue flags, blue this and that. As my father had prostate cancer, this issue means much to me.

  4. pokeyblow:

    I don't think your "readers" are drawn from the charity-gala-attending class.

  5. Matthew Slyfield:

    Men can get breast cancer too.

  6. bigmaq1980:

    "there is often zero transparency in such charitable promotional programs...(that)... just help fund the self-aggrandizement of their socialite sponsors"

    This prompted me to do a quick look at project (RED), one for which rock star Bono (of U2 fame) is a prominent supporter.

    He is often trying to push governments for more funding (from our tax money) of his various or related favored programs. He travels the world and hobnobs with the elite and celebrity crowds to much acclaim in the press. Aside from these showy acts of support, one wonders what he actually gives besides "time" and use of his "persona". It is hard to say that those are true "donations" as such, given the value to him in publicity (one could more properly describe it as "barter"). Would be nice to know that he gives a significant percentage of his own money (or other tangible asset) to the organization too.

    There's the rub. The (RED) website refers you to their ONE website for financial statements (giving only the top level url). After searching, cannot find them. If they are there, certainly don't make it easy to find (maybe I just missed them?).

    Given the visibility (hype?), and corporate support (bandwagon?), there appears to be serious money rolling through. Just not clear how much of what they take in makes it to their end target, and how effective they are on a per $ spend basis. Their website says "100% Goes to Fight HIV/AIDS" but is that 100% of the funds they receive, or is that a description of how they focus what they do as charitable work? Can't tell by looking at any financial statement.

    I did find this cleverly titled article, "Cui Bono" (who benefits), critical of the (RED) program for lack of transparency...

    Bottom line: Always worth checking charitywatch, charitynavigator, or BBB wisegivingalliance before giving, if you do not personally know the organization...

  7. Not Sure:

    "While fans can also purchase pink [NFL Branded] clothing and accessories to support the cause, a shockingly small amount of the fans' money is actually going towards cancer research."

    If one wants more money to go to one's favorite charitable cause than the NFL is providing, one could donate directly to the charity, couldn't one?

  8. marque2:

    Ah those Charity gala's also known as balls. It is well known that the bigger balls are better.

    Well I'm upper upper class high society
    God's gift to ballroom notoriety
    And I always fill my ballroom
    The event is never small
    The social pages say I've got
    The biggest balls of all

    And my balls are always bouncing
    My ballroom always full
    And everybody comes and comes again
    If your name is on the guest list
    No one can take you higher
    Everybody says I've got
    Great balls of fire

  9. marque2:

    It is rare though, about 900 cases a year in the USA, and almost always deadly.

  10. Joe_Da:

    Most of the larger non profits (more correct - for profit enterprises operating as tax exempt organizations) spend very little of their money for the original charitable purpose, whether it is medical, charity or what ever. The vast majority of the money goes to administrative costs, including salary of the administration and key/executive employees. The $3 for the box of girl scout cookies - approx 50 cents goes to the local troop selling the cookies to cover troop expenses, approx 75 cents covers the cost of the cookies, the balance goes to the regional/national offices.
    Another example is planned parenthood - Why does PP fight so hard to protect abortion rights? Why does PP fight to preserve substandard abortion centers and any regulations regarding medical staffing or medical oversight. Why doesnt PP spin off the controversial abortion services to a separate organization. Answer - because abortion provides PP with its highest profit margin.

  11. Tanuki Man:

    Reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons where Lisa, being her usual self-righteous eco-scold self, is questioning some flack about claims of using " percentage of recycled material." The flack says, "Zero is a percent!"

  12. Tanuki Man:

    Why doesn't the WNBA do prostate cancer fund raising?

  13. Mike:

    This sounds like a disgruntled purchaser who expected to be able to be able to take a tax write-off for all or most of the price of the NFL apparel as a "donation." Later, when told of the amount that might be considered a donation....