The NFL recognizes it currently has a healthy business, but the NFL doesn’t believe it can last as presently constituted.
“We don’t have a healthy business model,” NFL chief negotiator Jeff Pash told a gathering of reporters Thursday.
There was a lot to take away from the 90-minute session with the media, but the league tried to drive home two main points.
1. NFL teams and its players will begin losing a truckload of money starting in March, so there is “heavy incentive” for both sides to get an agreement.
2. The league doesn’t believe their current business model is sustainable.
“Let’s not get to the point where we are flat on our backs,” Pash said. “Let’s not get to the point where we talk about contraction.”
It seems crazy that a system that has led to huge growth over the last decade is unsustainable. But the NFL employees that met with the media Thursday said that was the case. (Here’s who spoke from the NFL: Pash, Senior V.P. of Public Relations Greg Aiello, Executive V.P. of NFL Ventures and Business Operations Eric Grubman, Senior V.P. of Labor Operations Peter Ruocco, and Senior V.P./Treasurer Joe Siclare.)
Pash said the NFL didn’t want to be like the housing market or the dotcom industry before their bubbles burst. He referenced the President’s State of the Union speech, saying the league needs to invest more in the future.
There is a lot of nitty gritty economic data I could get into here — including the vital argument over “direct costs” — but I’ll leave that to Florio. (He’s smarter.) A simple takeaway even I can understand is that a work stoppage of any length will be costly.
“There are very powerful reasons for both sides to get an agreement by the beginning of March,” Pash said.