On the surface, the NFL’s support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a spectacular thing. It’s the most popular sports league in America raising money and awareness for something that impacts 1-in-8 women. Plus, if you watch NFL games during October, you know that the league goes all out with branded pink merchandise with things like pink gloves and towels. In theory, what the NFL is doing is really admirable.
And yet, once you dig a little deeper, you learn that this initiative barely helps out with breast cancer research. Here’s what Business Insider found out in 2013 about the NFL’s, uh, questionable money management during Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
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.
Then consider that only 71.2% of money the ACS receives goes towards research and cancer programs. In the end, after everybody has taken their cut, only 8.01% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise is actually going towards cancer research.