SBJ/Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011/In Depth

2011 NFL season predictions

In light of the current labor negotiations,

how do you see the 2011 NFL season


“The NFL season will start on time with perhaps a shortened training camp/preseason schedule. There’s too much money at stake, not just with the teams and leagues, but with local economies across the country that derive a significant tax stream from NFL events, fans and merchandising. I believe both parties will push each other but, in the end, recognize that a strike would have such a widespread ripple effect that the cost outweighs the benefit either party may reap.”
— BILL GLENN, senior VP, managing director,
The Marketing Arm

“After missing four weeks of the 2011 season due to a lockout, the NFL and NFLPA will sign a new CBA resulting in a 13-week regular season and a one-week break between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. By the way, the 2012 season will have 17 regular-season games and 18 in 2013 and beyond.”
— RICK DUDLEY, president, CEO, Octagon

“Unfortunately, I believe the season start will be delayed a month or more due to the labor negotiations. Both sides are very determined in their positions; more than in any recent bargaining negotiation. And, the commissioner and the executive director of the NFLPA have not confronted one another before so there will be a certain amount of testing of wills, which may prolong the negotiations beyond what they might be had they met previously on the battlefield.”
— ALAN ROTHENBERG, chairman, Premier Partnerships

“Will start late with a 10- to 12-game season.”
— MIKE KERNS, CEO, Citizen Sports Network

“The 2011 NFL season will go on as planned. The NFL will use the expansion to an 18-game season as justification to provide additional payment to the players, which is what they really want after all. There is too much at stake and too much available for both sides to justify a work stoppage.”
— BARRY FRANK, executive vice president, media sports programming, IMG

“I believe there will definitely be a lockout. There are some milestones that will follow — draft, mini-camp, training camp and preseason. Each will provide urgency for both sides to work on completing a deal. My prediction is an abbreviated preseason, but the regular season will stay intact. This gets resolved in the summer. Once mini-camp comes and goes, the thought of training camp will provide a real desire to work hard to finalize a deal.”
— LOU IMBRIANO, president and CEO, TrinityOne

“While it could be viewed as optimism at its best, I ultimately believe that a full season of NFL games will be played in 2011 even if it means starting deeper into September. While it has never been done before, there really isn’t too much preventing the Super Bowl from moving deeper into February if it needed to. The path to get to that point could result in mini-camps and offseason workout programs being impacted and potentially preseason as well, but there is too much at stake and too much intelligence on both sides to not be able to find a deal that works for players and ownership. This is not the time or environment for either side to dig in too deep and fight to win at all costs. While the TV ratings and other consumption of all things NFL from this year are showing the fan has an almost insatiable appetite for NFL football, the same can’t be said for empathy or understanding of players and owners dividing up billions of dollars while unemployment and the economy continue to have very real impact on the fans.”
— DAVID ABRUTYN, managing director, senior VP and head of global consulting, IMG

“The status of the 2011 NFL season will certainly be one of the most watched stories of next year (by both those directly involved, as well as the many fans of the sport). In the end, I feel that there is just too much money involved (as evidenced by ESPN’s recent renewal of ‘Monday Night Football’) for the two sides not to get a deal done and preserve the lion’s share of the season. The preseason may be impaired, if not totally lost, but I suspect that we will see at least a 14-game regular season in 2011, with the extended 18-game regular season (and abbreviated preseason) commencing in 2012.”
— CHRIS BREARTON, partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

“I expect loss of preseason games and part of the September schedule, with a new agreement picking up the regular schedule at some time prior to October. … Rookie cap/scale should be the first major point of agreement.”
— MAX MUHLEMAN, principal, Private Sports Consulting

“Both sides realize there’s too much ‘good’ to foul up with an extended work stoppage. A deal will come together, perhaps impacting some preseason games and 1-2 weeks of regular-season play. A full season goes on, perhaps with the Super Bowl pushed back a week. On a related note, unfortunately just the threat of a work stoppage has already impacted sponsors’ plans, including the cancellation of extensive marketing activities. So from a sponsorship perspective, a tremendous amount of value has already been lost — more than will be lost from the cancellation of a handful of games.”
— DAVID GRANT, principal, Velocity/Team Epic

�8;— Compiled by Ryan Baucom

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