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NFLPA may approach networks directly regarding TV deals

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With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring in 2021 and the broadcast deals ending a year later, the timeline could quickly become very awkward for both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, which jointly will benefit when negotiating with the networks if labor peace can be guaranteed. And with the NFLPA deriving a significant amount of revenue from the national TV deals (55 cents on the dollar), the players have a clear interest in ensuring that the deals remain as lucrative as they’ve been.

“Frankly, we may reach out to some of the network executives in the coming months to figure out ourselves exactly what they’re planning in terms of the changing landscape of broadcasting,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said on Monday’s PFT Live. “The players are in this weird position of benefiting the most you can argue from the television contracts but also not having as much data as the people who negotiate those contracts.”

As a result, the union will have several questions.

“What do those deals look like? What do they contemplate long term with the changing landscape of how consumers are taking up content in sports? And what do those rights fees look like?” Atallah said. “We hope that the league office and those that negotiate these deals will treat the players as partners. If we can come to the table with the TV networks unified, my guess is our revenue stream will be more secure.”

It won’t be easy to significantly surpass the current TV deals, especially with ESPN constantly losing revenue that previously came from people who paid for cable without ever watching the four-letter network. By 2023, ESPN may be hard pressed to cough up big cash for Monday Night Football, which will require that money to come from one or more other companies that can afford to pay gigantic sums to deliver via cable, satellite, Internet, or however video and audio images of games.

Traditionally, the NFL exclusively handles those negotiations. With the NFLPA realizing that its interests are directly tied to the outcome of those talks, it makes sense for the union to take a more active role in ensuring that the league gets the best possible deals for the rights to broadcast NFL games.

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28 Responses to “NFLPA may approach networks directly regarding TV deals”
  1. rodgerstonelson says: May 8, 2017 5:28 PM

    My workers do not negotiate my contracts. Not sure why the NFL would stand for this.

  2. FinFan68 says: May 8, 2017 5:35 PM

    This is absurd. The league negotiates the deals. The union benefits from the deals. This concept is roughly the same as sending regular folks to sit in on Trump’s cabinet meetings because what happens there affects us all. The union only speaks of partnerships when it comes to receiving money, never when it comes to spending it on things like payroll (other than them), travel expenses, stadium upkeep etc.

  3. florida76 says: May 8, 2017 5:43 PM

    When the NFLPA owns teams, then they’ll have the right to negotiate TV deals. This is backwards thinking, I gave the NFLPA credit for more intelligence than this.

  4. jamaltimore says: May 8, 2017 5:48 PM

    will the networks be around and relevant in 2021? By then NFL network could just stream all the games from their site and take in ads directly from advertisers.

  5. kemp13 says: May 8, 2017 5:55 PM

    Can’t see the NFL allowing this. They just need to tell their broadcast partners not to answer the phone. No problem.

  6. daysend564 says: May 8, 2017 6:09 PM

    Stay in your lane, NFLPA

  7. IrishBobMcGillicutty says: May 8, 2017 6:11 PM

    Ain’t happening

  8. glac1 says: May 8, 2017 6:14 PM

    I think the golden goose is getting tired. It will be very hard for the networks to pay at the level they currently do. Because there are so few practices in pads the quality of the game is poor until late October. The networks should get pre-season rates for the first half of the season.

  9. 30male says: May 8, 2017 6:24 PM

    Who doubts that the NFL isn’t getting the best deal possible? The league’s only interest is making money. Trust me, they have this covered!

  10. jeremy2020 says: May 8, 2017 6:41 PM

    DeMaurice Smith is the worst thing to happen to football

  11. southpaw79 says: May 8, 2017 6:45 PM

    As a fantasy football player my winnings/earnings are dependent upon the current player’s and their contracts. I believe I should be present in all player contract negotiations moving forward to make sure my interests are being properly met.

  12. st0n3r78 says: May 8, 2017 7:21 PM

    In todays world I cannot see why the NFL and teams dont take every cent on the dollar easily. Allow teams and the NFL to sell streaming only bundle of Specific Teams, Divisions or Conferences in different bundles. Than no need to worry about sharing profits with cable / satellite providers.

  13. denverscott says: May 8, 2017 7:39 PM

    “The players are in this weird position of benefiting the most you can argue from the television contracts but also not having as much data as the people who negotiate those contracts.”

    Um, you might want to leave the talking to the lawyers.

  14. cardinealsfan20 says: May 8, 2017 7:50 PM

    For all the employees don’t negotiate contracts posters: This is not a typical company/employee situation. The salary cap will almost certainly continue to be calculated as a percentage of total revenue. The players have a vested interest in making sure as much revenue as possible is realized from the networks.

  15. bws1066 says: May 8, 2017 9:53 PM

    Stupid move by the NFLPA they will end up killing their golden goose. The NFL should hold talks without them. DeMaurice Smith is a jackass, they should pay the Clintons to have Smith knocked off in an accident.

  16. senatorblutarsky says: May 8, 2017 10:12 PM

    cardinealsfan20 says:
    May 8, 2017 7:50 PM

    For all the employees don’t negotiate contracts posters: This is not a typical company/employee situation. The salary cap will almost certainly continue to be calculated as a percentage of total revenue. The players have a vested interest in making sure as much revenue as possible is realized from the networks.
    ____________________

    And the owners don’t?

  17. TheVikingsHaveHowManySBTrophys? says: May 8, 2017 11:20 PM

    Pigs get fat / Hogs get slaughtered !

    The players union will do their best to screw up for all us NFL fans. Get ready for a strike.

  18. petedutcher says: May 8, 2017 11:26 PM

    Unions suck.

  19. bobnyjets says: May 9, 2017 6:32 AM

    Players are employees, most of then fairly short term, and need to get over themselves.

  20. jimmysee says: May 9, 2017 6:36 AM

    This is an excellent idea, but does not go far enough. Cities and states that invest millions and millions of taxpayer $$$$ to build palaces for football that the average joe (or schmo) rarely can afford to get into, rather than use those $$$$ for schools, roads, health care, and other services also need a place at the table and be guaranteed a return on those dollars.

    Unlike the team owners, who make their investments and are pretty much guaranteed a king’s ransom in return, cities pretty much get hosed when they put up cash for stadiums and infrastructure required to support them.

    No more.

  21. arcross12042004scorp15 says: May 9, 2017 7:40 AM

    The NFLPA should trust that owners will get the best deal possible. When 40% of the players are bankrupt 4 years after leaving the league Im not sure you want them looking out for the long term interest of the league.

  22. jgedgar70 says: May 9, 2017 8:35 AM

    With all the cord-cutting going on, I would not be the slightest bit surprised if the next broadcast contracts are awarded to some combination of Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Twitter and Yahoo. If the NFLPA really wants a seat at the negotiating table, it should start talking to those outlets now, and as the next CBA is negotiated, let the owners know what they found.

  23. cafetero1075 says: May 9, 2017 8:40 AM

    Players should get 80% of tv revenue. What do owners do besides hire bad coaches and cash checks. They extort the cities to pay for their stadiums.

  24. braven4evr says: May 9, 2017 9:03 AM

    I can see this from both sides as the owners have all of the financial risks. However the players have the physical risks. The article stated the players wanted more information, maybe I missed something, but I didn’t read anything about the players negotiating contracts. Remember when the owners tried to hide some of the TV revenue a couple of years ago?
    It’s just business…

  25. richc111 says: May 9, 2017 9:36 AM

    I have a question, I understand that the players get 50% or so of revenue from the NFL. What % of revenue does the NFL get from players revenue that is directly earned from because they are employed by the the NFL. I am guessing the players association thinks they shouldn’t get any. Just a guess.

  26. RegisHawk says: May 9, 2017 9:40 AM

    Cutting a deal with the networks is a breach of their agreement with the NFL. Unless they can invent a unique stream which isn’t already included in the CBA, they are wasting their time.

  27. mogogo1 says: May 9, 2017 10:35 AM

    There’s no reason the networks would even speak to the NFLPA about any of this. Just because the players get 50% of the money doesn’t mean they can negotiate the contract.

  28. boca12 says: May 9, 2017 10:39 AM

    Soooo…we are going to have to pay ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS to watch games?…I somehow think this will be in the ‘new deal’…. let that sink in….

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