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We’ve heard the cry before: the NFL needs to be more financially transparent, and this latest round of NFL-related scandals is no exception.
Now, a new report by Bloomberg highlights some of the more troubling financial practices of some teams in the league.
In this case, the league says it found that some of its teams have been “fraudulently obtaining and retaining revenue from fans.”
The problem is that, the report notes, it’s not clear if this was just a small percentage of the revenue that teams have collected or if they’ve been “losing money in ways that are inconsistent with the league’s financial statement.”
This is a problem because it’s very difficult to make sense of how many teams have actually been losing money because of this problem.
According to the report, one of the teams that Bloomberg found to be fraudulent was the Carolina Panthers, whose revenue was “significantly impacted” by the NFL’s efforts to curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The Panthers also reported “significant losses” in 2011 due to the drug-testing policy, according to the Bloomberg report.
The NFL, however, says it is not a member of the “Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Bengals NFL Properties Group,” which is run by the Bengals, who are currently on the chopping block.
The Bengals reportedly spent $1.1 million in 2011 to purchase the Panthers, according the Bloomberg investigation.
“The Bengals were one of our largest single owners, and we are deeply disappointed by what we found in this report,” NFL vice president of public affairs Brian McCarthy said in a statement.
“We are taking appropriate action to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
As for the Bengals’ financial situation, the team’s owner, Mike Brown, “will not be affected by the report,” the statement read.
The Bengals are now in a “pre-emptive” lockout, and the league said it would not comment on specific teams until “all owners are fully briefed” about the league investigation.
The Bloomberg report does say that the NFL did have a “bipartisan task force” that reviewed the league-owned teams’ financials and found that they “failed to provide adequate financial information” and “frequently reported substantial deficits” that were “largely unrelated to the NFL.”
That’s not a complete list, and there are still many questions to be answered, especially regarding the Bengals.