The NFL hosted ten reporters at the league’s Park Avenue offices Thursday morning, with the express effort of stressing the financial consequences of a potential lockout.
Since Florio is in West Virginia getting ready for his bus trek to Dallas, I sat in at the grown-up’s table to see what I could learn. [Editor’s note: Who knew they had booster seats at the league offices?]
We’ll be posting more detailed stories throughout the day from the 90-minute session, but here’s a quick recap of some of the main points hit:
1. By the league’s estimate, 569 players will be affected in March by a lockout. Of those, 495 players are scheduled to be free agents in 2011, with the assumption that the league goes back to a system where four accrued seasons are needed to become a free agent. That number includes 170 starters and 70 Pro Bowl players.
It will be the biggest free-agent class ever, and it will have the highest percentage of starters available ever.
They also counted 74 players with roster or option bonuses due in March, which have a total of $143.5 million due to those players.
2. The NFL said the league already is beginning to see the labor uncertainty affect their bottom line in some deals with sponsors. The league believes $120 million in revenue will be lost by March of 2011 without a deal. By August, the number climbs to $350 million.
The league estimated the clubs and its players will lose up to $1 billion if the CBA is reached just prior to the regular season, which is money the league claims it won’t get back right away. The league believes they would lose $400 million in revenue per-week during the regular season.
3. The league compared the so-called “lockout insurance” clauses in the TV contracts to a home equity line of credit.
“Whatever we collect, we have to repay with interest in the event of missed games,” NFL chief negotiator Jeff Pash said.
4. The remainder of the session essentially consisted of an explanation from the league’s side as to why the NFL believes the current model doesn’t work.
“The current economic model does not promote a healthy future for the game,” Pash said.
This is where the finances got complicated. We’ll dive into this more later. (We know you can’t wait.)
5. The league expects the franchise tag to be in use for clubs this year in February, just as it has been in previous seasons.
6. No round-the-clock intensive meetings are currently scheduled.
7. The league said they understood the “obligation” to fans of the game, reiterating their awareness of the fact that the league enjoys its popularity because of the fans.
“With no agreement, we will have failed the fans,” Pash said.