NFL Breast Cancer Awareness: Pink Merchandise Doesn’t Really Bring Much In

The NFL is promoting breast cancer awareness by offering pink merchandise, but you probably didn’t know that barely any of the proceeds actually go toward research. That pink flag you may have bought barely put any money at all toward its intended cause.

This might sound like a pessimistic approach to the whole idea, but unfortunately there is math to back it up. Darren Rovell of ESPN uncovered data from the NFL’s sales records showing that only a quarter of what was paid goes to the NFL. Of that, most of it is donated to cancer research. That’s right, not even a quarter of what you pay goes into the actual cause.

Half of the money you pay goes toward the retailer, and three quarters of what’s left goes toward the manufacturer. The NFL itself gets the shortest end of the stick at 1.25 percent as the rest is split between cancer research and administration for cancer research, ideally.

The NFL’s merchandising website tells us, “All apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with special game balls and pink coins will be auctioned off at NFL Auction, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program.”

Actual NFL breast cancer awareness proceeds account for around 10 percent. The IRS gets about twice as much out of your paycheck every year, if you need added perspective.

Now you may be thinking that the NFL isn’t making much either, but consider that most of their merchandise is sold online. In that case the NFL is the retailer, suddenly taking just over half. Now that pink flag you bought over the internet seems to have gone mostly to pay the players and everybody else, while breast cancer research barely got any of it.

Basically, if you want to really support breast cancer research, you should donate directly to an organization that’s actually doing the work. The NFL has enough money, considering that most players make more in one game (about half a day) than you probably will in years. At least you’re getting some entertainment out of the players and possibly the cheerleaders, if that’s any consolation.

Basically, the NFL breast cancer awareness merchandise is really barely going into research at all.