To create real leverage, union should target fans of low-spending teams

Though we’d love to see NFL owners emerge from the annual league meetings with a commitment to getting a deal done on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the simple reality is that any new agreement most likely won’t be finalized until the 2010 season ends.

Now that the salary cap — and salary floor — have disappeared, the owners simply won’t want to change the rules midstream.  Although, in theory, the deal can be finalized with new salary cap provisions that would apply after the coming season has ended, the likelihood of hammering out an agreement absent anything other than a genuine deadline will be impossible, given the current tone between management and labor.

So why wasn’t a deal done before the launch of the 2010 league year?  The widespread thinking is that the owners wanted to proceed without a cap.  And there’s an emerging view that more than a few of them wanted to proceed without a floor.

As we pointed out last week, roughly 25 percent of the league would be south of the 2009 floor, if a cap were in place.  For some of the teams, the actual cash commitments for 2010 will be much lower.  (We’re in the process of getting the numbers.)  The thinking is that this will allow teams to pocket significant windfalls this year, spending far less than they would have forked over under the prior rules, while still making equivalent money.

One league source has summarized the situation perfectly.  Fans of teams that will be spending well below the minimum that would have applied are paying the same price for tickets, but getting a product that was compiled much more cheaply.

And those fans should be upset.

So if the union is looking for ammunition to use in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the fans, we suggest abandoning hollow efforts to suck up to retired players and focusing more directly on the folks who’ll be directly affected by paying the same amount of money for the privilege to go to games, and getting a lot less by way of roster quality.

Though it might not be enough to force a compromise, it would be a much more effective way to demonstrate to the paying customers the manner in which the current labor situation already is impacting the game than anything else the union currently is employing.

22 responses to “To create real leverage, union should target fans of low-spending teams

  1. Getting a lot less in terms of roster quality? I’m not sure that’s fairly reflected just by comparing a team’s payroll.
    Just ask Raider fans how they feel every time they see JaMarcus Russell and his $32 mil in guaranteed money drop back to throw.

  2. Snyder has never been afraid to spend a lot of money to improve his team. Is that why the Redskins have been so successful in recent years?

  3. While it’s a good idea in theory, some teams (i.e. the Bucs) would use loop holes to avoid spending money. If there was a salary cap floor, the Bucs would have included likely to be earned incentives in Sean Jones’ salary, such as $20 million for blocking 25 field goals this year.

  4. @ Florio,
    “Fans of teams that will be spending well below the minimum that would have applied are paying the same price for tickets, but getting a product that was compiled much more cheaply. And those fans should be upset.”
    You’re getting closer every day to being a moron. The payroll has nothing to do with the quality of the players. If so, the Redskins and Cowboys would win all the Super Bowls. How can you believe that only the teams that spend the most money are serving their fans best?

  5. This article also doesn’t seem to take into account rebuilding teams. Some teams have less labor costs because a lot of their players are on rookie contracts. For example, the chiefs signed some free agents but a lot of their current players are on rookie contracts (because they are rebuilding).

  6. # Hugified Wang says: March 22, 2010 3:14 AM
    I bet Chilly likes to look at Favre’s Wiener.
    I effing hate thread hijackers like yourself but I bet you’re right. I bet he especially likes it when he is wearing one of his nice dresses.
    As far as this argument goes, however, it doesn’t make much sense. Baseball fans endure that bs every season.

  7. Spending less doesn’t mean getting less. Especially with the amount of ‘woulda been’ UFA’s who are restricted under the CBA. There simply aren’t any big dollar free agents out there. Should the Rams give Willie Parker 6 mill a year so, they look like they are trying to win? Of course not. Maybe Tampa Bay can give T.O 10 mill a year to show that they are committed to winning. It’s not spending money, it’s what you spend it on. The Raiders and Redskins must be extra committed to winning.

  8. The way it was told to me by an inside source, ticket prices have nothing to do with players’ salaries. Tickets pay for stadium upkeep and such.
    I then told my source that somewhere, some way, eventually some percentage of ticket $ goes towards players’ salaries…It has to.

  9. To create more controversy and page views, come up with more reasons why both sides should fight.
    And yet you encourage that they resolve this……

  10. More salary =/ better team.
    This is basically saying the Redskins and Raiders should be tops in the NFL.

  11. It’s how you spend the money. Bad teams like Oakland and Washington have poor judgement of value.

  12. It’s not the size of your payroll that matters, it’s how you use it. At least that’s what she said.

  13. Mike, while I enjoy your humor and appreciate the accuracy of many of the rumors you put up here, it is so painfully obvious that you are a union suck a$$ that it makes me sick. Please get your lips off of the union dong and try being a bit more balanced.

  14. With no salary floor, the Bucs will set a league record lowest ever payroll and field a team with 22 players.

  15. For all you morons out that who hate Florio…
    He never said that less payroll = less talent. All he said was that if the players aren’t getting paid as high as other players, then why do you need just as much money from the fans as those teams who pays their players more money.
    Basically, he’s saying since the cost of goods isn’t as high for a team, they should be able to charger their fans less in this horrible economy.
    Now, that line of thinking can also be picked apart, sure. But please, read what he said before looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!
    And the real issue here is the stupid preseason games. Season Ticket holders should NOT be forced to pay the exact same price for two preseason games as they pay for regular season games that actually matter.
    The games are all bench players, and the result doesn’t even matter. The teams need to stop forcing their biggest supporters to pay for these seats at over-priced levels, and the P/R and marketing people that these teams pay need to do their job and find a way to sell tickets to meaningless games with players who are most likely not even going to make the 53 man roster.

  16. I think the Glazers are using the NFL money to pay for Manchester United debt payments. I feel sorry for Bucs fans. Patriots fans used to have to deal with stuff like this before Kraft bought the team.

  17. Earth to morons: The Glazers have lowered or frozen ticket prices for the 2010 season. They’ve also made half season packages available as a low cost alternative to season tickets. They also bought out the necessary, remaining tickets to avoid blackouts last year.
    So please tell me more about our “terrible” owners, who just happened to take a chance on a guy named Tony Dungy and later did whatever was necessary to bring a Super Bowl to the biggest laughing stock franchise in the NFL.
    You people that are calling the Glazers the “New Culverhouses” have no idea what you’re talking about.

  18. Sharing local revenue is a very bad idea. Let teams compete in generating local revenue.

  19. My tickets are already inexpensive (for NFL standards). I’m not gonna ask them to lower them! As long as the Jags keep drafting like they have with the new GM, the Jags can stay at the cap floor for all I care. Spending big money on FA’s is part of the reason why the Jags fell apart after a playoff season in ’07. Spend big money on players that deserve it, like Jones-Drew, and then keep drafting young guys.

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