NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s endured a stormy 2014, as the league he oversees received criticism over the handling of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson domestic violence cases. But Goodell was rewarded well for any stress he was placed under, with ESPN reporting he earned $34.1m in 2014. In the same period the league spent $10m on concussion research, an issue that has plagued the league’s image and has been linked to the death of a number of former players.
Goodell earned a base salary of $3.5m, as well as a bonus of $26.5m, $3.7m in pension payments and just over $250,000 in “other reportable compensation”.
The NFL has non-profit status, which means its tax filings – including Goodell’s pay packet – are a matter of public record. However, the league is giving up its non-profit status after Goodell said it would “make no material difference to our business”, meaning his salary will not be made public in future.
The $34.1m Goodell made in 2014 is above the average of $20m a year he has made in his nine years as commissioner. While Goodell’s salary is huge, it is comparable with other people in similar trades. The NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, made far less than Goodell with earnings of $9.6m in the 2013-14 season but the league’s revenues were much lower at $3.7bn. However, another figure in the world of sports, Nike CEO Mark Parker, made $14.7m off company revenue of $27.7bn.
Other expenses listed on the NFL’s tax filings were more $13m for office rental and $16m in legal fees.