I know I’m already going to headliner writers’ hell for that one, but I digress. Who amongst us could find fault with Rex Ryan wearing a pink New Era J-E-R-K-S cap? How about Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan, who finds the NFL’s annual October Breast Cancer Awareness Month a tad lacking when it comes to substantial philanthropy.
According to Business Insider, the NFL’s October Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraising effort is multi-pronged. There’s the on-field onslaught of pink (AWARENESS), the off-field auction of autographed or otherwise noteworthy NFL paraphernalia (MONEY FOR THE CURE!), and the part of the NFL store that entices shoppers to purchase officially licensed NFL breast cancer gear, a portion of which goes to FINDING A CURE. According to the League, 100% of the proceeds from the specialty auction go to the American Cancer Society, but the total percentage of purchases of officially licensed gear that actually goes to FINDING A CURE is actually kind of pathetic — 5%. If you want to look at this cynically, in a way, the on-field wearin’ o’ the pink serves as an ad to direct consumers to purchase pink fan items.
BUT WAIT, you might say, AT LEAST THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING. And 5% is still something! Well, kind of. As BI pointed out, if NFL products are sold at a 100% markup and only 5% of sale proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, then the NFL is pocketing 90% of sales of Breast Cancer Awareness products, many of which would not be purchased if they didn’t come with a promise that consumers were “helping.” And, more perspective: while the American Cancer Society isn’t, say, Komen, they still don’t use 100% of the money they receive to “fight” breast cancer. Only 70% of donations taken in by the organization go toward cancer research. So, if you spend $10 on pink stink from the NFL, only about 35 cents is going to finding a cure for breast cancer.
Since the program’s inception four years ago, the NFL has raised $3 million for breast cancer. In 2009, the League made $8.5 billion. Last year, they made $9.5 billion. Commissioner Roger Goodell has set a revenue goal of $25 billion per year by the year 2027. A million per year out of between $8.5 and $9.5 billion in revenues? Pardon me while I don’t slobber all over the NFL’s pink-drenched marketing campaign.