SBD/March 18, 2011/Franchises

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 7: More Than Half Of Teams Avoiding Cuts For Now

Seventeen NFL teams "have avoided instant layoffs, salary reductions, hiring freezes or furloughs" in the first week of the lockout, according to a study cited by Jon Saraceno of USA TODAY. The "survey of the 32 NFL teams -- most of them reluctant to share internal information regarding contingency plans -- shows that slightly more than half have maintained the status quo when it comes to employee compensation, at least for now." One "potential trigger date for further cutbacks" is the April 28-30 NFL Draft. Among the teams that have made "immediate financial modifications to payroll include" the Packers, Steelers, Jets, Giants, Chiefs and Chargers. The Cardinals "plan a one-week furlough for all employees May 23-28 if the lockout has not ended" (USA TODAY, 3/18).

THIRTY-PERCENT CUT: In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy cites an NFL source as saying that Bengals assistant coaches "have had their salaries reduced by 30 percent since the lockout started." The Bengals "will allow coaches to recoup the money when the lockout ends," and they also "have not opted out of the league's pension plan for assistants like 13 other teams have done." The Bengals are "one of a dozen teams that have cut assistants' salaries by more than" 25%, and five teams "have cut assistants' salaries by half." NFL Coaches Association Exec Dir Larry Kennan said that "almost all teams would reduce coaches' salaries if the lockout lasted 90 days or more." Meanwhile, Bengals President Mike Brown said that employees "would not have furloughs or layoffs but acknowledged there would be some hardships." Brown: "They will be asked to do something, but we are going to keep our people under hire and support them" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/18).

PAYMENT STILL REQUIRED: In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz noted several teams are "mandating payment for season tickets," including the Patriots, who are requiring fans to "pay for ticket packages in full by the end of March." The Falcons "required the first payment to be made by Feb. 11 -- which was three weeks before the CBA expired," and tickets "must be paid for in full by June 1." Falcons VP/Football Communications Reggie Roberts: "We're operating as if there's going to be a season. We're operating under the assumption there won't be any lost games. If games are lost, then we have a plan in place." Roberts added that the team's plan "stems from the league's recommendation." But Schultz noted the Giants are "not asking for a nickel until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place" (AJC.com, 3/17).

MUST PAY IF DON'T PLAY
: In St. Petersburg, Kevin Wilmath reported a plan to "alleviate losses from a potential NFL lockout now has across-the-board approval after the Tampa City Council gave its thumbs-up Thursday, a day after Hillsborough County commissioners did the same thing." The plan calls for the Buccaneers to "reimburse the Tampa Sports Authority" if "there is no 2011-12 season." TSA Exec Dir Eric Hart said that the county and city "stand to lose up to $1.2 million total." The TSA has "agreed to repay the Bucs if revenue from ticket surcharges" for "recently added events at the stadium" exceeds $1.93M (TAMPABAY.com, 3/17).
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