SBD/January 28, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL: Losses Could Total $1.7B Through '15 If No New CBA Before Regular Season

NFL says it would lose $1.7B if new CBA not reached by kickoff of next season
The NFL would lose $1.7B through '15 if a new labor deal is not struck before the regular season begins Sept. 8, NFL officials told reporters Thursday during a 90-minute session at league HQs. The NFL in October disclosed that it would lose $1B by the start of the season without a new labor deal, but the NFL expanded on that Thursday, saying the consequences of not reaching a deal in time for the season would be far greater and would not end until '15. In the event games are lost, the financial losses would be an additional $400M a week, said NFL Exec VP/Business Operations Eric Grubman. The NFL called the meeting to get across its message that it wants accelerated talks with the union, and that the consequences for both sides would be devastating if a deal is not reached before the CBA expires on March 4. Later, NFL Management Council Senior VP/Labor Relations Peter Ruocco, using an overhead visual, said that 495 players would lose unrestricted free agency on March 4 and 74 players would lose accelerated salaries they were due, representing hundreds of millions of dollars. If a deal is not struck by March 4, the league said it would lose $120M, largely in the value of sponsorships not signed, season tickets not renewed and merchandise and licensing deals not inked. If a deal is not signed by the preseason, the loss rises to $350M, the NFL said. Sixteen teams already have announced ticket-price freezes or will soon, said NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello. Grubman said one significant licensing deal already had to be restructured. The league is asking the union for further expense credits, representing 18% of revenues. The league walked reporters through several examples of why the expense credits are necessary, and NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash said the reason the union did not agree with the league's analysis is because the players have a great deal now and do not want to give it up (Dan Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

SIZING UP THE COMPETITION: In N.Y., Ken Belson reports the "top leadership of the league and union have met frequently in recent weeks," but there "have been no full-fledged negotiations since November." And with the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl "yet to be played, those talks are unlikely to occur until after Feb. 6." In the "absence of more complete talks, both sides have tried to amplify their arguments in public." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he "would take a $1 salary if a new collective bargaining agreement is not in place by the deadline," while several NFL player reps "went to Capitol Hill last week to tell lawmakers that they are fighting to increase retiree benefits and oppose a cap on rookie salaries" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/28). In Austin, Cedric Golden wrote, "Instead of reaching out to one another at the bargaining table in a real-life negotiation, this appears to be a classic game of chicken, pitting billionaires against millionaires, with the paying public left holding the ball." The next few weeks are the "most important in Roger Goodell's career." There are "no winners in a work stoppage, especially Goodell, who built his base on the concepts of strong discipline and accountability" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/27).

LET'S MAKE A DEAL: In Boston, Ron Borges writes under the header, "It's Time For Real Bargaining, NFL." This is "not the time for empty gestures or subterfuge like reducing your salary to $1 or cutting it to '68 cents' if a deal is done before the deadline" as NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith counter-offered. Borges: "What must be done is some honest bargaining and a return to the thing that made the NFL the powerful force it is -- complete revenue sharing among all 32 teams." The "biggest date on the NFL calendar is not" Feb. 6, the date of the Super Bowl, but March 4, the "morning the fiscal war is declared between the players and owners" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/28). In Philadelphia, Ashley Fox writes, "I'm already tired of the posturing. Get to the table and get a deal done." The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's John Gonzalez writes Goodell's offer to reduce his salary to $1 is "such a shameless PR ploy." Goodell "makes about $10 million a year with bonuses," so "unless he owes more money than Michael Vick, Goodell will be fine financially." The INQUIRER's Frank Fitzpatrick writes the move is "no more sincere or worthwhile a gesture than Congress cutting its salary" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/28).

PRESS PLAY: The NFLPA’s new online promo regarding a work stoppage was discussed Thursday on ESPN’s afternoon talk shows, and Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said the union is “making a point .. and they need to do that because people still say, 'The players are going on strike.'” Cowlishaw: “They're not going on strike. They're being locked out." ESPN’s J.A. Adande: “It does help to remind the public that the players don't want a strike. They're happy the way things are” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 1/27). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "The NFLPA needs to communicate one essential thought: We're being locked out, we'd like to play, the owners are not letting us play. That's what they're doing. They're trotting out rank-and-file guys to say, 'They don't want us.'" But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "Here's the problem with it because it's a lousy ad. … They don't have any stars. Put Peyton Manning out there and say, 'The thieving weasel owners are locking us out.' Or say this, 'We want to play but we don't want to take any less money.' The owners want them to play without pay" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/27).

FRACTURES IN THE RANKS? On Long Island, Bob Glauber reports many players are "pushing back" against Jets CB Antonio Cromartie for earlier this week questioning Smith's "handling of negotiations." Glauber: "Fractures within the membership will increase if owners declare a lockout March 4 and players see their salaries and medical benefits eliminated" (NEWSDAY, 1/28). Santa Rosa Press-Democrat columnist Lowell Cohn said of the players, "They should have solidarity. They should at least publicly have solidarity. Cromartie is at fault. If he has a problem with what's going on with his leadership, there are ways to do it. You get on the phone, you write a letter, you write to the union. You don't start tweeting like a 10-year-old" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 1/27). ESPN's Wilbon said, "When we get to the really important negotiating period where they try to get a deal done, you're going to see some differences among players. Some players who are younger and know they don't have that much time in the league, they want a deal done. Older guys, particularly quarterbacks and left tackles and wide receivers, they got some money. They can ride it out" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/27). N.Y. Daily News reporter John Harper: "That players' union is not strong enough to stay together ... if they actually start missing games and missing paychecks" ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 1/27).
Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug