Of the six teams in existence at this time last year two no longer exist and were not offered for sale...they basically went under. A third had its owner and main sponsor withdraw support and is now continuing under the ownership of the Town where the ball field is. That transfer of ownership was basically a payment of the annual renewal fee to the league ($50,000). So in the end it appeared that team was not sold...but transferred.
What does this all mean and why is it important? The value of a "franchise" is ultimately the price you can get for it if you sell it. That of course means that the three noted Franchises were basically worthless. The cost of a franchise should be a in keeping with the relative value. For instance you can buy a Subway franchise...depending on your location...for less than $50,000....then outfit your store, inventory and you're in business probably for about $250k all in...and you are probably cash flow-positive the day you open.
Considering this, the fee charged for a NPF franchise is out of whack with the market value...which as demonstrated is zero.
Further, the league now has two governmental owners...the Village of Rosemont and China. A third entity is an international governing body with millions of members. These team ownerships have quite different motivations in terms of their business model than do the two remaining privately owned franchises.
Finally, as noted by many the league appears to be struggling. There are no doubt lots of factors, but in the end its the financial one that matters most. Are there ways to correct this? I believe so, but it remains unclear if the current status quo is being challenged in any meaningful way.