SBD/April 3, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Tax Returns Show NFLPA Paid $44M For Lockout Insurance

The NFLPA paid $44M for lockout insurance in the year ended March 31, 2011, according to the union’s tax return that it filed with the IRS in recent days. Sports Illustrated reported last July during the lockout that the players had paid an insurance company a premium to buy insurance to pay players in the event games were lost. Whether that reported lockout insurance affected the labor negotiations is unclear -- recent reports have the salary cap remaining flat in the first four years of the new deal -- but the fee is part of a return in which the union posts a loss of $20.8M. NFLPA officials were unavailable for comment at deadline. The NFLPA normally files its tax return in January, but the IRS gave non-profits like the union through March 31 because of a problem with the agency’s electronic filing system. The return shows Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith as the highest-paid member of the union with salary and benefits from the NFLPA and the union’s licensing and merchandise arm of $2.38M. Outgoing general counsel Richard Berthelsen earned $879,408. The return does not reflect the bulk of the lockout period, which lasted from March 12-Aug. 4. The return shows payments to the union’s top two outside counsel Latham & Watkins, and Dewey & Labouef, of $3M and $2.9M, respectively. Smith previously worked at Latham. A year earlier Dewey’s take was $4.5M, while Latham was not listed. Smith also worked at Patton Boggs, which took in $948,947 from the NFLPA in the year ended March 31, 2011. The return shows the union with revenues of $92.76M and expenses of $113.6M. Employee salaries rose from $13.6M to $15.6M, according to the return, a nearly 15% jump. Organizations that file returns that become public frequently say the numbers do not necessarily reflect the underlying business, but are reported in a fashion dictated by the IRS.

BORNSTEIN LEADS WAY FOR LEAGUE: NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein was for the second year in a row the highest-paid exec in the NFL, according to the league’s tax return, which the NFL filed in recent days. Bornstein earned $12.2M in the year ended March 31, 2011, while Commissioner Roger Goodell earned $11.55M, according to the tax return. The tax return does not reflect the new contract Goodell signed late last year that by the end of this decade should about double his current pay. Goodell’s pay though is a jump from the $9.89M he earned the year before. Bornstein earned $12.65M that year. Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue took in $8.6M in the year ended March 31, 2011, but all but $1M of it was in deferred pay and retirement benefits. NFL Exec VP/Labor & General Counsel Jeff Pash, the league’s lead labor negotiator during the lockout, earned $6.3M. Total NFL league office compensation rose to $80.4M from $75.8M, a 6% rise. The IRS allowed the NFL to file its tax return six weeks later than usual because of problems with the agency’s electronic tax filing system. The NFL league office is structured as a non-profit, and so it is required to make its tax return public upon request. However, the 32 teams are separate, for-profit entities and so do not have to publicly disclose their tax returns. The NFL league office showed revenues of $184.3M, largely from assessments on teams and expenses of $236.5M. Several large financings are run through the league, so it often books a large loss. The return shows a $57.3M interest expense, plus another $34.3M for what is listed as club related financing.
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