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Volume 24 No. 158
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First Document Unsealed In NFL "Lockout Insurance" Case

The first document in the so-called “lockout insurance” case between the NFL and NFLPA became public this afternoon: the union’s brief to the federal court in Minnesota contending the court should overturn a special master’s decisions allowing the league to use $4B of media fees in '11 if there is a lockout. All documents have been sealed in the process since it began early last year, and the brief is redacted, with key numbers darkened out.

However, it does include excerpts of deposition transcripts and testimony, including from league execs like NFL Exec VP/Media and NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein and Commissioner Roger Goodell conceding that the lockout insurance was a critical element in renewing the broadcast deals.

The brief also includes a picture of a slide the league showed owners at a March '09 meeting describing efforts to renew the TV deals. The slide said, “Current structure of broadcast contracts prevent NFL from collecting payments if work stoppage in 2011.” That would seem to undercut the league’s argument that work stoppage provisions are common in all media contracts.

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