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Bisciotti might have opened Pandora’s box

For months, the NFLPA has been asking the league to explain the basis for its desire to change the financial terms of the current labor deal.

For months, the NFL has tried to create the impression that teams are losing money without saying that teams are losing money.

The reason for the high-stakes high-wire act is simple — if the league claims that teams are not making money, the league might be forced to disclose comprehensive financial information regarding the individual franchises.

On Wednesday, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti gave the union its clearest piece of evidence to support an attempt to compel full financial disclosure.  Per the Associated Press, Bisciotti said during a season-ending press conference that several owners are facing financial shortfalls that could create “long-term problems for the league,” and he reportedly “insisted” that several teams are struggling to finish in the black.

Annnnnnd that’s why the NFL fined Cowboys Jerry Jones $100,000 in September.

Previously, the league had done a great job of avoiding the articulation of financial problems.  Whether Bisciotti’s words are enough to allow the union to prevail in legal proceedings aimed at prying loose the financial data remains to be seen; given the union’s ongoing requests for that information, we’d be surprised if the NFLPA doesn’t make Bisciotti’s remarks the centerpiece of precisely such an effort.

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21 Responses to “Bisciotti might have opened Pandora’s box”
  1. polishkingski says: Feb 3, 2010 7:15 PM

    what i don`t understand is wouldn`t it be easy to figure out if the league was making money by looking at all sales vs what the players make plus other operating costs? why is that so hard?

  2. ben6969 says: Feb 3, 2010 7:29 PM

    If they are barely making money, they must have the kind of habbit that makes Richard Pryor look like an occasional user…

  3. Beauregard says: Feb 3, 2010 7:32 PM

    Damn big business always trying to keep the working man down. Thank God the millionaire players have the union to go after the billionaire owners.
    Meanwhile, back in the real world I’d love to be able to fill my gas tank this weekend, but it’s looking iffy.

  4. slipkid says: Feb 3, 2010 7:42 PM

    if there is a lockout, the players will crawl across broken glass to the table.
    because they wont be able to eat bling.

  5. nflknowsbest says: Feb 3, 2010 7:44 PM

    It is not the Unions or players business to know what the league or the Franchises financial records are. end of discussion.

  6. wwwmattcom says: Feb 3, 2010 7:48 PM

    I just got oil for my house. Looks like new tires will have to wait, hope I don’t get a flat!

  7. Tomthebombtracy says: Feb 3, 2010 7:57 PM

    Remember, things were a lot simpler when teams were second tenants in multi-purpose stadiums. They weren’t worrieds about the light bill. Then they built their own….at least with some of their own money…..and they have debt. And they might not tell you but many teams are suffering from a drop in corporate dollars. Some have had significant drops, tied to the economy.

  8. slipkid says: Feb 3, 2010 8:25 PM

    they can always get new players.
    new teams… not so sure.

  9. Deb says: Feb 3, 2010 8:38 PM

    This goes back to the whole “Are we one entity or many?” issue. Unless he’s talking about his own financial situation, how is Bisciotti in a position to know who is or isn’t going to finish in the black? He doesn’t have access to the other owners’ books either. So he can’t know for certain. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some of the owners are struggling.
    Tomthebombtracy is right–some of them are trying to manage the overhead from newly built stadiums and they’re not getting as many corporate sponsors or selling as many sky boxes. The Glazers have had some highly publicized financial issues regarding their other franchise, Manchester United. Even with the influx of money from new minority owners, Dan Rooney had to stretch himself pretty thin to buy out his brothers and maintain his majority ownership of the Steelers. Most of the owners probably have other business interests and investments that have been hit by the poor economy.
    Maybe if they tried being more up front with the players instead of just trying to nickel-and-dime them to death, the could work out a compromise that meets the needs of both parties.

  10. Darth Vader says: Feb 3, 2010 9:07 PM

    How in the world does the NFL fining Jerry Jones, the owner of one of the most financially secure and successful franchises in the NFL 100K, have anything to do with the situation teams in Buffalo and Jacksonville are facing? For pities sake he just built a freaking 1.2 billion dollar stadium with more than half of that his own money. Its not like he’s sharing funds with Weaver or Wilson or the Glazer’s in Tampa.

  11. jamaltimore says: Feb 3, 2010 9:12 PM

    Big deal. the union should give up the rookies their ridiculous contracts and keep the pay up and available for those veterans who perform and set the market ala Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

  12. DaDawg26 says: Feb 3, 2010 9:14 PM

    What none of them realize is that press on this matter doesn’t help whatsoever. This should be a closed door thing that gets worked out. Instead, you let the media get ahold of it and the fans will get ahold of it. And, as stated above, when the average football fan barely has enough to fill the gas tank, he/she doesn’t want to hear of the struggles a billionaire and millionaire is going through. Therefore, they get so disgusted that they start losing interest in fairy tale land and just stick to finding ways to put gas in that tank. When that happens, like it did with baseball, you will see more empty seats and more financial struggles of franchises.
    I would love for someone to sit the heads of each the Owners and the Union, show them a slideshow of real life, and get this shit over with. If homeless people, struggling working folk, people who worked at GM plants for 20+ years and lost their jobs, they might just realize that their bickering over more money in a billion dollar business might just cause the people producing millions less intrigued with their business as a whole!

  13. Calir says: Feb 3, 2010 9:34 PM

    They’ve used their football money to fund other failing businesses and now the football faucet is running a little dry. Next up, PSLs for parking spaces. That should fix the problem.

  14. Klytus says: Feb 3, 2010 10:34 PM

    I missed something. I don’t see how Steve Bisciotti’s comment lets anything out of the bottle. He simply said that some of the NFL teams are struggling to make ends meet. If that statement is meant for anyone, it’s meant for the Jerry Jones types in the league that continually grouse about their stipend support of financially strapped teams. Or to put it another way, Jerry Jones feels the Cowboys franchise is a league unto itself and doesn’t need a competitive league to exist. Very short sighted, in my opinion.
    GO STEELERS!

  15. DallasRavens says: Feb 3, 2010 10:45 PM

    DaDawg – Great points…..
    This is really ridiculous. However, I don’t blame the players for trying to squeeze every dollar they can out of a franchise. Lets face it 50% of them couldn’t hold a real 40+ hr a week job. This is it for most of them. I would even venture to guess that a small portion of players in the league have a middle school education level.
    On that note I have a serious issue for pieces a toilet scum like Jamarbust Russel who wears more “bling” than the cost of my house and hasn’t done a thing on the field. By the way he was one of the 20% group I mentioned above.

  16. Mumakata says: Feb 3, 2010 11:56 PM

    This is what happens when you let employees run the show 99% of the time. The employees get more than they are worth, and then eventually, the business grinds to a halt. Kind of like the state of the USA right now. When the welfare majority figures out they can vote themselves the money to the working minority, it is all over.

  17. rlm says: Feb 4, 2010 9:12 AM

    Aren’t the Packers a publicly held corperation. I would think that their financial information should be farily easy to come by for the NFLPA

  18. Tim Couch says says: Feb 4, 2010 10:04 AM

    Poor rich people. Yawn.

  19. topcide says: Feb 4, 2010 10:08 AM

    The players are employees of their clubs.
    If they don’t like the rate of pay they are being offered, I hear Taco Bell is hiring.

  20. edgy1957 says: Feb 4, 2010 10:36 AM

    Darth Vader, Jerry didn’t spend ANY of his money on his portion. He paid for his with the outrageous PSL prices that he charged and the other owners kicked in $150 mil.

  21. edgy1957 says: Feb 4, 2010 2:02 PM

    floriohatestheravens, do you even have a clue? Seriously, “NO BUSINESS in America would survive if they have to pay their employees 60% of their revenue!!!” Have you even been paying attention to the NFL and its finances? Certainly all of your statements go a long ways to prove that you don’t.
    First off, the TV revenue puts $94+ mil into a team’s pocket before they even play a game. That bottom line for each team is AT LEAST $40 mil in stadium revenue (and they’re not sharing all of that) and as much as $90 and that’s NOT counting how much the Cowboys are taking in this year. Then you’ve got naming rights, licensing and on and on and on and most important, they’re getting the revenue BECAUSE OF THE PLAYERS. According to Forbes, revenues ranged from a low of $208 mil to a high of $345 mil with an average of $236.7 mil or $94.7 mil for the owners, if they are getting to keep 40%. That’s a lot of money to pay bills with AND I haven’t even gotten into the tax implications, which lessen what they actually pay.
    BTW, according to a report HERE, the offer for the Rams from one group is $725 million. Oh and could it be that the price dropped because people don’t believe that they were worth that kind of money instead of the NFL model, especially when you consider that Forbes values them as 25th in the league (Only one of the 7 listed below them, Detroit, has opened up a stadium since 2000).

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