SBD/Issue 36/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Building Nearly $900M Lockout Pool As Labor Fight Continues

The NFL is "building a nearly $900 million lockout pool financed from the savings the league reaped by not paying non-health care benefits to players this year as well as from revenue the league is holding back from the teams," according to sources cited by Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources indicated that the money, $28M from each of the 32 teams, is "in addition to reserves the league has saved that are sufficient to pay for two years of interest" on roughly $1B of "stadium debt that flows through the league." The league last week at its annual bank meeting in Dallas "briefed its lenders on the financial contingency planning." The nearly $900M is "spread between two pools of money." The first is the $10M each franchise "saved in March when the teams did not have to pay non-health care benefits, such as life insurance or pension-plan payments." Sources said that the NFL "instructed the teams to hold onto that money and not spend it." The league also is "in the process of holding back $18 million per club from pooled revenue that otherwise would have been paid out to them." The $576M total, plus the $320M saved from health care, "will serve as the main lockout funding for the league" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/1 issue).

Roger Goodell Echoes York's Contention That
CBA Strife Is Hurting 49ers-Santa Clara Deal

DOLLARS & SENSE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday said that uncertainty surrounding the CBA "is making it difficult to finance" the 49ers' proposed new stadium in Santa Clara. Goodell, speaking on the eve of the Broncos-49ers game at London's Wembley Stadium, said, "It's the CBA. That's what (investors) are concerned about. They want to make sure that the CBA is something that will allow them to finance a stadium. And that's challenging in this environment." Goodell added, "I think (new stadiums) are great for the fans, but the financing no longer comes from the public sector. A lot of these stadiums are being moved to privately run facilities. And that's fine. It's a transition. But that transition is changing the economics for the owners" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/31). More Goodell: "The clubs are making more and more cognizant investments in those stadiums. In addition, they have to maintain those stadiums in many cases. That's a financial obligation that they didn't have. And then the third, which is starting to hit, is they have to upgrade those stadiums with capital expenditures, which is an extraordinary amount of money. Those are expenses that we've never had before" (DENVER POST, 10/31).

READY FOR A BATTLE: Goodell said, "Both sides are going to be prepared for all alternatives. That’s what they should do. Anyone who enters into a negotiation and is not prepared will probably not be successful. I’m sure the players have been taking preparations. They’ve been talking about how they’ve been doing that for some period of time. And the owners will be doing the same." Attorney Bob Batterman will be the NFL's "chief negotiator," and Goodell said, "Bob Batterman is an outstanding labor attorney. He has not only represented the NHL, he has represented many other organizations and reached successful conclusions without lockouts. We’re not going to be told who to be represented by." In Denver, Mike Klis noted he has "been dubbed 'Lockout' Batterman." But Goodell said, "They can call him anything they want, his intention is to get labor agreements that work for both sides. And I think he has an incredibly successful record on that front" (DENVERPOST.com, 10/30).

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