SBD/January 25, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Extends Roger Goodell's Contract As Commissioner To March '19

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Goodell's contract as NFL Commissioner was set to expire in March '14
The NFL has extended Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract another five years to March '19, a development that comes at the conclusion of perhaps the most successful season in NFL history. His contract had been due to expire on March '14. In the last year, he negotiated a new 10-year CBA that triggered an economic shift to the owners, and recently completed lucrative new TV deals that mirror the length of the labor deal. Twenty-three of the top 25 rated TV programs in the current TV season have been NFL games. “I speak on behalf of 32 NFL club owners in saying we are fortunate to have Roger Goodell as our commissioner,” said Falcons Owner Arthur Blank, who chairs the league’s Compensation Committee. “Since becoming commissioner in 2006, the NFL -- already the leader in professional sports -- has gotten even stronger. As evidenced by this contract extension, we have great confidence in Roger’s vision and leadership of the NFL. Our clubs, players and fans could not ask for a better CEO.” The owners authorized the Compensation Committee in December to begin contract renewal talks. Before the CBA talks concluded, most viewed that deal as the defining moment of Goodell’s tenure, no matter how long he stays in the job. He secured a 10-year, no opt-out deal that saw owners get a better percentage of revenues and a long sought after limit on top rookie pay. Prior to taking over as commissioner in September '06, Goodell managed a wide array of football and business operations during a 24-year career in the NFL that started with an internship in the league office in '82 under former Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Rozelle served as commissioner from '60-89, and his successor, Paul Tagliabue, served from '89 -06. Presuming Goodell reaches the end of the new contract, the NFL will have had three commissioners in 59 years.

CHALLENGES AHEAD: Goodell has been a target for criticism, whether it be for his player safety measures, fines for hits deemed unsafe, and his personal conduct policy. His future challenges include striking a deal for an HGH testing system with the NFLPA, improving the in-stadium experience so fans do not stay home, and generating new revenues to meet his lofty financial expectations. Two years ago, he challenged the owners to hit $25B in revenue by '27. In '11, revenues were $9.4B. Revenues would need to surpass $16B by the end of his current contract to be on pace for that goal.
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