NFL Salary Cap Could Be Significantly Reduced If Games Are Played Without Fans

While fans wait for sports to come back, the long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on sports business could become a bigger story in the months and years to come.

One major implication may relate to leagues that use salary caps. ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently joined the MySportsUpdate podcast and said there could be enormous implications on the NFL cap if games are played without fans.

Schefter said that could result in $3.2 billion in lost revenue for the NFL, and he added that executives and owners have privately estimated that it could reduce the 2021 salary cap by up to $80 million if other actions are not taken.

The league and the NFLPA would certainly do as much as possible to avoid this scenario, but it would be hugely damaging if it did happen. Teams spending north of $30 million annually on quarterbacks would suddenly be squeezed, and the rest of the roster may suffer.

The NBA is likely to face similar issues for at least one season. It’s why a league like the NFL will do everything it can to stage games in front of fans as usual in 2020. The consequences if they can’t would be severe.