Unsealed documents show league added “lockout insurance” to 2009 TV contract extensions

The union’s effort to block the league from collecting so-called “lockout insurance” — i.e., ongoing network payments in the event of a work stoppage — has proceeded exclusively in secrecy.

Until today.

As part of the federal court hearing regarding whether Special Master Stephen Burbank’s decision to allow the NFL to collect the money if a lockout occurs, Judge David Doty made public the NFLPA’s legal brief in support of the position that the payments instead should be held in escrow.

According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the brief includes excerpts of testimony from Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL executive V.P. of media Steve Bornstein admitting that the contested term was a “critical element” of the contracts that the league renewed in 2009.

The union’s brief includes a slide shown at the league meetings in March 2009 regarding the effort to extend the TV contracts.  Said the slide:  “Current structure of broadcast contracts prevent NFL from collecting payments if work stoppage in 2011.”

Oops.

Though it remains to be seen whether Judge Doty will agree with the NFLPA’s position that the league violated the CBA by seeking a term that benefited only the league (and thus necessarily required the NFL to take less money that could have been shared by the owners and the players), the development undercuts the notion that the “lockout insurance” hadn’t specifically been inserted into the 2009 network contracts.

Which in turn supports the notion that the league sought in the 2009 network contracts a term that benefited only the league.

The union’s brief, per Kaplan, contends that the Special Master concluded the league used “sound business judgment” when deciding that having a revenue stream during a lockout justified the decision not to maximize the revenue that the league shares with the players.  Indeed, it was “sound business judgment,” since it gives the league leverage against the players in a lockout.  But since the NFL and the players have agreed to a system of compensation based on total football revenue, the league arguably has a duty to max out the money to be shared by the league and the players.

Under a different model, it wouldn’t matter.  If, for example, the league paid the players a flat rate, the league could decide to give up some revenue in exchange for terms that benefit only the owners — and that, in the case of the “lockout insurance” provision, actually hurts the players.  When the league decided to share revenues with the players, the league assumed a duty to take reasonable steps to get as much revenue for the two sides as possible.

And, at a minimum, to not engineer contracts in a way that gives one party to the supposed partnership leverage against the other.

52 responses to “Unsealed documents show league added “lockout insurance” to 2009 TV contract extensions

  1. And if the league failed to acquire lockout insurance and allowed the banks to foreclose on the stadiums, where will the players play once they “win” the CBA battle?

  2. Busted. The greed meter just went haywire. Punishment – take the lockout insurance money and instead of an escrow account, place it in the fund for the old timer players suffering from their injuries.

  3. I gotta side with the owners on this one. The players are not true partners. It’s like saying that if my company offers profit sharing then I can demand that they stop offering free coffee to employees because it eats into the profit.

  4. You know, I’m having a hard time finding ANY “good side” in this whole mess, but I have to give the league credit for negotiating this “insurance” angle. I mean, if they CAN do it, then why the hell shouldn’t they? Does anyone really thibnks the players wouldn’t have taken a similar advantage if they could?

    It IS a “smart business decision”, and the union sounds like sour grapes crying over this.

    And now that this document has been released by Doty, does anyone stil believe he doesn’t have a bias for the players and against the league? Do we see him releasing any “secrets” that the union has?

    No one wins if this isn’t a fair deal to both sides, Doty has shown a clear bias, and he needs to go.

  5. mikeyhigs,

    ummm….that’d be a LOT of coffee.

    to use your analogy more sensibly, it’d be like saying if your company offered profit sharing, but then agreed to a long term contract with their #1 client for far less than market value. then, when you and your co-workers go on strike, the #1 client pays for your Chief Officers and Board to go on a golf trip in the Virgin Islands. While you and your buddies get jack.

  6. Lock out insurance? Isn’t that tantamount to the legal expression “Bargaining In Bad Faith?” If so, doesn’t this knowledge of this effort weaken the league’s sense of the moral high ground?

  7. The league does not have a duty to max out contracts with TV. If doing so would cause harm to the TV companies and thereby compromise their ability to broadcast games it would be in the interest of the league NOT to max out compensation.
    Also why can’t the league negotiate this type of insurance. Sure it only benefits the league BUT, and this is a major BUT, the league must pay back all that money if there are no games. Hence its not “insurance”, its a loan. So then the NFLPA must be saying it is illegal for the league or teams to take out loans.

  8. Just got a telegram from Bernie Madoff…He does not see anything wrong with these shady actions displayed by the owners.

  9. They knew by 2009 that the CBA sucked, and that they were going to pull out of it. I can’t blame them at all for getting some leverage.

  10. mikeyhigs says:
    Feb 24, 2011 10:54 PM
    I gotta side with the owners on this one. The players are not true partners. It’s like saying that if my company offers profit sharing then I can demand that they stop offering free coffee to employees because it eats into the profit.

    ——————————-

    You’re wrong. If you knew anything about labor law, you would know that they are indeed partners. Because of the CBA, when negotiating with the TV networks, the owners can’t leverage their interests against that of the players.

    When will you guys get it through your heads that the NFL is not run like a small business?

    They purposefully put this clause in the contract, took less money (which might explain why their revenue is down) all so they could have a revenue stream while the players did not so they could get a new CBA that was very favorable to them. It’s sneaky. It’s slimy. And it’s the kind of dishonest crap the rich folks have been pulling for years to get even richer.

  11. richm2256 says:
    Feb 24, 2011 11:12 PM
    You know, I’m having a hard time finding ANY “good side” in this whole mess, but I have to give the league credit for negotiating this “insurance” angle. I mean, if they CAN do it, then why the hell shouldn’t they? Does anyone really thibnks the players wouldn’t have taken a similar advantage if they could?

    It IS a “smart business decision”, and the union sounds like sour grapes crying over this.
    —————————————-

    Smart business decision? It was a dishonest move. The NFL, in the CBA, promised the players that they would bargain with the TV networks and get the best deal for both sides. They did not do that. Instead, they took less money so they could get a revenue stream after they locked the players out. Once the players were locked out, they planned to get a CBA that gave them an even larger share of the pie because they know the players will be desperate. And that dishonesty is okay with you?

  12. mark0226 says: “And if the league failed to acquire lockout insurance and allowed the banks to foreclose on the stadiums, where will the players play once they “win” the CBA battle?”

    Since the vast majority of stadiums are either 1) paid for in full or 2) paid for or backed by taxpayer dollars or 3) paid for by ticket holders PSLs, which stadiums, exactly, are in danger of foreclosure? Please provide us with a list. With the exception of Dallas, I am not aware of any new stadium that doesn’t have some tax payer support. Seeing how the mess in the Middle East has gas at $3.50 and rising , I’m guessing Jerry Jones oil and gas holdings and the fact that Dallas is ranked as the most valuable NFL team will be more than enough to keep the banks from foreclosing.

  13. “When the league decided to share revenues with the players, the league assumed a duty to take reasonable steps to get as much revenue for the two sides as possible.”

    I don’t get this statement. Was it in the CBA that is what the league had to do? Or was that an assumption that the league would do that? Because in the latter case, the union screwed up big time by not specifying it in the contract and I don’t see how they have any standing. In the former, it would seem the owners are exposed.

  14. Stop all the crap and give us FOOTBALL!!!
    Everbody’s greedy, the owners don’t want to tell the players if they’re making or losing money, the players want more but they don’t know what more is and we the fans get SCREWED!!! Great move guys! So keep it up, no football, no money, nothing to share.
    GET SOMETHING DONE!!!

  15. mikeyhigs says: Feb 24, 2011 10:54 PM

    I gotta side with the owners on this one. The players are not true partners.
    —————————————————–
    1) The owners are the ones who first started calling the players “partners” in an attempt to convince them to give up money to “reinvest” in the league.

    2) It doesn’t matter whether they are partners in the business sense. by law they have a contract and according to antitrust laws of their business structure they can’t negotiate financial terms that only help one side and gain leverage against the other.

  16. “And if the league failed to acquire lockout insurance and allowed the banks to foreclose on the stadiums, where will the players play once they “win” the CBA battle?”

    Hopefully it won’t come to that because if Judge Doty strikes down the lockout TV money, then the owners are bound to reach a deal. What would the deal look like? I’m guessing it would look a lot like the current deal since the players are satisfied with it and the owners are making money. They had no reason to opt-out anyway except to make more money, which their own revenue-sharing system and salary floors were the real culprits, not the player’s portion of league revenues.

  17. what the heck is this whole collective bargaining crap. go to work, get paid, don’t do a good job, get replaced. why is this such a difficult concept.

    i’m for the owners and the state of wisconsin. screw the unions.

  18. If the union wins here, it will only serve to make the owners that much angrier, and greatly increase the possibility of replacement players being used this fall – or maybe even this summer: If there is no new agreement by late June or thereabouts, the owners can move to have the scabs report to the training camps when they open toward the end of July. They could even unveil the 18-game schedule at once, by scrapping the last two weeks of the exhibition schedule and substituting regular-season games in their place – presumably interconference 1st-place-vs.-1st-place matchups, 2nd-vs.-2nd etc., which is what the added games are likely to be. The regular season would thus start two weeks earlier in 2011.

  19. Ha, what a laugh! Always funny when the teabag idiots show up comparing the NFL to their jobs at the McDonalds.

    The NFL is more akin to communism than the free market. It’s a monopoly with checks and balances like revenue sharing. Almost everything has to be approved by judges and congress, so comparing it to the place you work is idiotic.

    This idea of insurance against blackouts should be made public. Absolutely no reason for it not to be, as the owners are supposed to be dealing in good faith (they are bound under Anti-Trust Legislation to do so). That this is a bit of a black eye is funny, but completely legal. It does make one wonder though whether the owners were trying very hard to get a deal done.

  20. I, personally think that this is nothing more than a good decision by the league. Its the insurance companies obligation to pay out on the deal they signed. If the league paid for insurance for this kind of event, then why would it create a controversy when they made their claim? Am I missing something? Seems like the insurance companies are screwed and are trying to get off scott free. I don’t think its shady at all (on the owners part).

  21. mikeyhigs says: Feb 24, 2011 10:54 PM

    I gotta side with the owners on this one. The players are not true partners. It’s like saying that if my company offers profit sharing then I can demand that they stop offering free coffee to employees because it eats into the profit.
    __________________________
    This is nothing like profit sharing. Profit sharing checks are bonuses paid to employees to ensure that the employees will be motivated to see the company succeed. The CBA is a legally binding agreement that stipulates that the revenue that the league takes in will be split in a specific manner with they players in return for services rendered. In other words, it’s not a bonus, it’s the contractually mandated method of payment for the player’s services. Huge difference. If you want to compare it to anything, then the closest analogy would be a marriage, in which one spouse hides some money away because they know they intend to file for divorce.

  22. richm2256 says: Feb 24, 2011 11:12 PM

    You know, I’m having a hard time finding ANY “good side” in this whole mess, but I have to give the league credit for negotiating this “insurance” angle. I mean, if they CAN do it, then why the hell shouldn’t they? Does anyone really thibnks the players wouldn’t have taken a similar advantage if they could?

    It IS a “smart business decision”, and the union sounds like sour grapes crying over this.

    And now that this document has been released by Doty, does anyone stil believe he doesn’t have a bias for the players and against the league? Do we see him releasing any “secrets” that the union has?

    No one wins if this isn’t a fair deal to both sides, Doty has shown a clear bias, and he needs to go.
    ___________________________
    The problem is simple here. The league and the players came to an arrangement. The player agree to put their bodies on the line to create a valuable product that the league packages, markets, and distributes. In return for their services, the players are paid a certain percentage of the revenue that the league take in for this product. So, while the players may not have an ownership stake in the teams, they are partners with the league in as much as they have a legally binding claim to a given percentage of the revenue. In 2009, the league made a point of negotiating new deals with the networks that would give the owners an advantage in the case of a lockout they were considering and put the players at a disadvantage. Is it realistic to believe that the networks would agree to continue paying the league in the case of a work stoppage without the league having to give something up in the negotiations? The league could have sacrificed this demand in exchange for more money. In leaving that money on the table in order to gain an advantage for themselves and put the players at a disadvantage, it could be argued that the league defrauded the players. If such a ruling were reached, then that would be a huge problem indeed.

    As for Doty, the release of this document proves nothing. When the issue went to federal court it moved out of the realm of private negotiations and into the realm of public hearings. As such, the media now has access to those files. Doty released the document (one of many) because he was now required to do so. As for his rulings, from what I remember some have gone in the league’s favor and some have gone in the players’ favor. If he hadn’t ruled against the league every so often that would have been rather shady. Remember, this is the same league that argued they were separate businesses to avoid an anti-trust suit, and then not too long after said they functioned as one unit to fight a suit that challenged the leagues right to pick one vendor for certain merchandise for the entire league. They have no problem arguing completely contradictory points depending on the circumstances of the case.

  23. Probably a smart move by the No Fun League but if anybody in the NFLPA thinks the league will be open, honest and above board in negotiations I would suggest they think again. You can bet a lockout is a sure thing. Trust…it’s out the window.

  24. they were planning a lockout. Anyone who thinks this was a fair deal is nuts. the owners inserted this to gain leverage during the “lockout they didn’t want.”

    Without this lockout insurance, the owners wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in negotiations, and there would be no lockout pending b/c they would actually want to get a deal done.

    They are only able to attempt this hardline stance, b/c they have money incoming if there is a product on the field or not. They are saying they assume all the risk, so let them. Having this insurance really negates that risk they are taking.

    When this was negotiated, the CBA was still in effect. So they intentionally bargained to gain leverage against their supposed partner during the next Collective Bargaining negotiations. That’s illegal is it not? I’m not 100% sure if it is or not.

    However, “smart business” often means tiptoeing on the line of legal/illegal. That I do know.

  25. I am trouble understanding why so many people give the “thumbs down” to comments stating the literal truth about the rights that the league has. Is this the America that we live in? Has the media made so many people anti-corporation? You people have this idea that the players are partners when they are even close. They are highly, highly paid employees who get paid that high salary to risk their safety. They are well aware of those dangers when the step onto the field and and paid accordingly which is why they do it. Like said above, and several other times by logically thinking commenters, the league is a business. Just try to pull the same crap the players are at your own company and see what happens. I promise you, you will be looking for a new job while your employer replaces you with someone who is quite willing to do your job already.

    Wake up people.

  26. mikeyhigs: the owners are true partners? that’s why they’re going to lock them out, lock out your partner! goodell(a.k.a.) pinnochio got caught with his pants down again! what a turd

  27. Kave Krew says:
    Feb 24, 2011 10:38 PM
    Busted. The greed meter just went haywire. Punishment – take the lockout insurance money and instead of an escrow account, place it in the fund for the old timer players suffering from their injuries.

    ============

    What’s funny is that it’s actually the NFLPA who should be funding any increase to the old timer players. It’s the old timer players who fought for the benefits that the current players have. For all the lip service the NFLPA and current players give the old timers, the NFLPA could collect money to give to the retired players IF THEY WANTED TO. The players and union talk big but when it comes to spending any of their own money that’s off limits. If the NFLPA thinks that ex NFLPA members deserve a better retirement isn’t is up to the organization that they paid dues to to fund the increase?

    It’s baloney that they keep pushing that it’s the league’s problem. It’s not, the league’s only obligation is to the current players.

  28. chapnastier says: Feb 25, 2011 7:24 AM

    I am trouble understanding why so many people give the “thumbs down” to comments stating the literal truth about the rights that the league has. Is this the America that we live in? Has the media made so many people anti-corporation? You people have this idea that the players are partners when they are even close. They are highly, highly paid employees who get paid that high salary to risk their safety. They are well aware of those dangers when the step onto the field and and paid accordingly which is why they do it. Like said above, and several other times by logically thinking commenters, the league is a business. Just try to pull the same crap the players are at your own company and see what happens. I promise you, you will be looking for a new job while your employer replaces you with someone who is quite willing to do your job already.

    Wake up people.
    ______________________________
    First of all, there’s a huge difference between being anti-corporation and recognizing that corporations need to be monitored and regulated. Why? Because they’re run by people, and people who have no constraints put on them will tend to cause problems. Ever hear of that little oopsie BP made in the Gulf? Their own engineers warned them about what could happen, and they chose to keep the rig online in an attempt to avoid losing money. Pharmaceutical companies have knowingly put drugs on the market with serious side effects, including possible lethal side-effects, without warning anyone about the issue. Those are just a couple of examples of what goes on in the real world. Corporations can be very useful and allow businesses to grow to take advantage of economies of scale, but to assume that they’re always going to be right or honest is just absurd. I’m a pro-business guy with a degree in economics, and I know that you don’t allow entities that powerful to exist without some form or regulation.

    Secondly, your idea of what makes for a partnership is rather limited. There is more than one kind of partnership. Do the players hold an ownership stake in the teams? No. The owners and the players have a contractual relationship in which they divide up the revenue, however. In the case of the NFL, you have two parties working together to create and market a valuable product. The players generate the product. In many ways, in fact, they are the product. Saying that the game is the product and the players interchangeable is short-sighted and naive. The NFL is more than just football. It’s football played at an elite level, and there are a very limited number of elite players. Simply take a look at the QB position. There are only 32 team in the league, and there aren’t enough elite QBs for each team to have one. What we call a bad QB in the NFL is a relative term however. A bad NFL QB can still be a quality UFL QB. In that difference you have the NFL.

    Having said that, without the NFL these elite skills have very little value. The NFL takes this product and packages and markets it in a way that appeals to us like no other form of entertainment. It’s more than a game. It’ a way of life, and something that we pass down from one generation to the next. The NFL then uses that emotional connection with the fans to sell their product not just to us fans, but to the various networks and cable channels as well. Both the league and the the players realize the value that the other brings to the table. That is why they have agreed to split up the revenue that the NFL generates. The debate here is not about that basic structure, but about how much each side should get.

    One final note: please stop with all of that “If I tried to do this at my job” bull. If you or I tried this at our jobs we’d be gone. Why? Because there are more than 20 or 30 people in the world that can do our jobs. That’s not the case with elite football players. The number of people in the entire world with the ability to do what they do at the level they do it is very limited. The league has done a tremendous job at generating a remarkable demand for their product, but without the best players out there, they can ‘t deliver on what they promised. Using lesser players would be like selling someone a Cadillac and then giving them the keys to a Pinto. The customer will not be happy, and if that’s the best you can deliver, then they know they can get the same thing elsewhere at a much lower cost.

  29. If you want to compare it to anything, then the closest analogy would be a marriage in which one spouse hides some money away because they know they intend to file for divorce.

    ———–
    Incorrect – that analogy is very flawed but why let logic get in the way of siding with the union.

    If you want real analogy, the closer example is a public company with stockholders. The company has a legal fiduciary responsibility to those stockholders to maximize stockholder value, which generally means taking actions that raise stock value and paying out dividends.

    Even in that relationship, in which in theory the stockholders have more powers then the players do in their relationship with the owners, the business can and do make decisions that will hurt/hold down stock value and returns to the stockholders in the short term to achieve long term goals, growth or business protection.

    Now think through this a little bit beyond the “I hate Jerry Jones and would love to see him default” logic that goes on around here. If the owners were actually to default on stadiums, the cost of the game would skyrocket once it started back up again and that would be passed on to you and would also mean the players would receive less of a cut. There would also be severe layoffs for all the staff you don’t see such as the front office, stadium personnel and so on. All those people who operate in this business that you don’t see and who don’t make the hundreds of thousands or millions that the players do.

    All businesses have a duty to protect the actual business and no business would allow a period of time to go by without having any income to cover expenses.

    As the special master said, it was a sound business judgment which is perfectly legal.

  30. Wouldn’t this so called lockout insurance, the money they get from the networks in the event of a lockout be more of a loan to the NFL. That once the games resume the money is to be repaid over time with future TV contracts at a discount. Ultimately that laon/insurance the NFL is receiving is to be paid back in the form of games being televised and somewhere down the road the NFL is going to have to account for that revenue to the NFLPA in the form of its percentage it eventually negotiates.

  31. Chapnastier,

    I am not sure which posts you are referring to but looking over it most of the posts with a good number of “thumbs down” are not accurate posts.

    For instance, the first post by Mark0226 implies that if games aren’t played stadiums will be foreclosed upon. It also implies that stadiums are usually owned by the teams/team owners.

    Another comment, this one by mikeyhiggs, implies that the players are not true partners with the NFL when the CBA says differently.

    Another post, Richm2256, implies that Doty suddenly released the secret of the lockout “insurance” that readers of this webpage have known about for over a year. It was not a big secret it was widely known to anyone who cared to read about it.

    I can’t speak for everyone I can only tell you why I hit “thumbs down”

    As to the “america we live in” you assume first of all that all readers live in America. Secondly you assume that American’s have their anti-corporation opinions formed by the media. I can almost hear you say “liberal media” but you restrained yourself.

    Finally the implication you make is that there ought not be an anti-corporation sentiment, that there must necessarily be some benevolent feature to corporations that we are missing. That corporations are not, by definition, interested in making profit and all other activities are with that end goal in mind.

    There is nothing wrong with making profit. But there is also nothing particularly benevolent or worth admiration in it.

  32. “I am trouble understanding why so many people give the “thumbs down” to comments stating the literal truth about the rights that the league has…”

    Not too hard to figure out. The union goons are out in force today.

  33. @ stanklepot

    I can respect most of what you are saying even though I genuinely disagree with it. At least you aren’t making assumptions and have used some brain power to come to your conclusions. Again, I don’t agree, but I respect it. The problem is that the players feel entitled and are going to strike (yes I consider it a strike) if they don’t get the deal they want. 40% of profits to me would be more than fair considering they assume no financial risk if football were to suddenly begin to lose money (which isn’t likely anyways). I am fiercely anti-union because in many cases I feel that teams could offer better benefits to lure in better players, much like a corporation would do to you or I. In my opinion this would give more leverage to the player when it comes to demanding long term pension and retirement benefits. Maybe they could set up some ownership rights like we can get with an employee stock purchase plan, that ensures that will continue to receive some sort of money after they are gone. That takes care of the retirement issue all together.

    @mick

    Yeah I think you are right. They seem to be out all over this country. No matter what arguments are made in favor of the players people continue to think they aren’t employees. There are TONS of semi-pro, arena and Canadian players that would love to play in the NFL. If you were to consider that the NFL players are the best at what they do it would only be fair to consider that if they were removed the new NFL players would take there spot as the very best.

    @toe

    Again, I appreciate your logic. I disagree but at least you put some thought into it.

    I don’t have to say liberal media anymore because just like you assumed it to be, all media is considered liberally biased at this point.

    I also assumed most people on this site are Americans because football is an American sport. Quite simple logic there.

  34. Chapnastier,

    thanks for the positive conversation. As to assuming most people are Americans. I agree with you its a safe assumption. I’m not sure why I even added that segment on my post and sort of wish I hadn’t as it detracts from my point.

    Overall I was impressed with your response. Judging by the thumbs your point of view is in the minority but I am glad that we can disagree without being disagreeable. I wish politicians would take a cue from us football fans.

  35. If they are “partners”, why are the players objecting to pay their share of stadium construction, maintenance, mortgage and other fees and expenses? If the bengals build an indoor facility as clamored by players, will Carson Palmer’s contract be reduced to help pay for it? The Packers made $9M less this year. Can they reduce the players guaranteed contracts pro rata to recover their losses? If the answers to the above is no, they are not “partners.”

  36. I have to agree with the players. In the first place, they took less money that would have gone to both sides and while that would have hurt both sides, the lockout insurance only hurts one side and if there is a lockout, the players lose two ways: decreased initial fees and the absence of salary during any lockout years. The owners have to pay back any lockout fees but it will probably end up being spread out and they will have still had the benefit of using that money, even if it were only drawing interest in a bank during that time while the players wouldn’t get a penny.

  37. chapnastier, seriously, please what RISK? They suckle from a TV teat that is worth billions BECAUSE OF THE PLAYERS. You didn’t see these same boobs getting that kind of money for the Arena League when they owned it (and took REAL risk) NOR did they get the kind of ticket revenue that they get from the NFL fans. They let the cities and states build their palaces and what money that they actually spend is really PSL money that comes from the people in the stands and it has displaced many long time fans from their seats because they can’t afford to pay the corporate bribe to keep their seats and these are the ones that YOU CLAIM risk something when the players risk their careers every day. When the average career lasts less than it takes for them to be vested into their pension plans and most walk away from the game with nothing, you feel that they don’t risk anything? When no owner besides Halas and a few former players that became owners EVER RISKED THEIR CAREERS WITH HITS THAT CAUSED CONCUSSIONS, you think that they risk more than the players? When some of them like the owners of the Bears and Rams and Chiefs and Steelers INHERITED their teams from their parents, who risked less than what you may believe, you somehow believe that they risk more than the players? Get REAL.

  38. @ edgy

    Please, get over this player risk nonsense. They get to go to top notch universities for free and have the ability to obtain a degree that could guarantee them a lifetime income. Most choose to leave early and earn millions of dollars. Spare me this “feel bad” for guys who get paid more money than I’ll earn in my lifetime because of the risk of a concussion. I mean are you serious? Risking a physical injury for the amount of money they can earn is nothing.

    I am sorry you have a problem with people inheriting what their parents worked hard to create. But if you think for a minute that there is no risk in owning a business then clearly you do not understand running a business. Its a business and if people are willing to pay for that product via PSL’s etc. then the nature of our system allows that business to thrive.

  39. Could someone enlighten us:

    How many NFL teams/owners own their own stadiums? Aren’t nearly all of the venues leased from the municipalities for sweetheart deals?

    I agree with the sentiment (if not the style) of Edgy when he asks the question “what risk?”

    Its a valid point. There is very little, if any, risk in owning an NFL team. An NFL franchise is a profit making machine from the jump and when an owner is finished making a profit he is practically guaranteed to sell it for more than he paid for it.

    Owning an NFL team is one of the world’s safest ways to invest money.

    I know there are some anti-union guys (chapnasty proudly claims this title) but please don’t confuse “anti-owner” with “pro-union.”

    I think the players and the owners are both wrong but I have less sympathy for the owners. My reasoning is simple. PSL’s.

    I understand the argument that if the market can take it, do it. And I am most angry at season ticket owners who shell out PSL money. But second on my list of people to be angry with are the owners for sheer audacity.

    I have a 6 year old son and my wife and I started setting aside money in our budget to prepare to buy annual season tickets for he and I. But when the price of PSL’s soared to over 6 months salary I said enough is enough!

    Shame on you NFL owners. Shame on you season ticket holders.

    And because of the PSL issue I have no sympathy for ANY hardship the owners may have to endure. The owners cry foul that the NFLPA is ripping them off at the same time they have no problem ripping me off.

  40. Nice try, chap but no matter how much you say it’s true, it’s NOT. I didn’t say that I had a problem with them inheriting their franchise but that because they did, they risked NOTHING. Hell, the Bears were supposed to pay $100 for theirs but NEVER DID. Buffalo and KC, which are still in the hands of their original owners or their family cost all of $25,000 and the Steelers cost a little over $2,000. WOO HOO! Bring on the risk! The guy who bought part of the Giants risked more money than the Maras did (another who got the team from their family) and so did the guy who bought the Dolphins but it’s not like everyone has risked a lot of money without getting any of it back. NFL owners are at a far less “risk” than any owner in professional sports and you’d have to be blind not to see that. We still hear people, including at PFT, who talk as if Jerry Jones has this big burden to pay off for the Palace Near Dallas but the fact is that between the NFL and the city, they paid over $475 million and his PSL would have taken care of the rest AND made a profit. Not only that but he got more than $400 million in ticket sales for the Cowboys alone and since he didn’t have to share club or luxury box revenue and has only given Arlington $7 million over the past two years and is exempt from their taxes, he’s kept more than 70% of that revenue and I haven’t even touched on the concessions that he owns. Plus, add in 1/2 the NBA All-Star game, two bowl games, several regular season college games and concerts and other events PLUS the concessions for those events AND he doesn’t have to share any of that with the other owners. He’s easily cleared more than 1/2 billion dollars in the last two years and yet, he’s supposed to have risked something. Again, get real.

  41. toe4 says:

    *************

    Not many “own” them. Jerry, for example, doesn’t actually own the stadium but here’s the kicker. He pays $3 mil in “rent” and $500k to the city for their youth programs. The $500k is gone but the $3 mil every year counts toward a 30 year down payment that allows Jones or more likely, his relatives, AN OPTION to pay off the rest in inflated dollars for about what the city paid for in 2008 dollars. Again, that’s an option so they could refuse to take the option and go to Fort Worth, Irving or even Dallas to get another new palace.

  42. BTW, it should be noted that for 2009, the Cowboys first season at the Palace Near Dallas, Forbes lists revenue as $420 million, which is all revenue MINUS any so-called stadium debt. Again — where’s this big risk?

  43. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Feb 25, 2011 2:20 AM

    If the union wins here, it will only serve to make the owners that much angrier, and greatly increase the possibility of replacement players being used this fall – or maybe even this summer: If there is no new agreement by late June or thereabouts, the owners can move to have the scabs report to the training camps when they open toward the end of July. They could even unveil the 18-game schedule at once, by scrapping the last two weeks of the exhibition schedule and substituting regular-season games in their place – presumably interconference 1st-place-vs.-1st-place matchups, 2nd-vs.-2nd etc., which is what the added games are likely to be. The regular season would thus start two weeks earlier in 2011.
    _______________________________
    Not even close. I’ve already read reports where Peter King has shot down the notion of replacement players because, as his contacts put it, the networks wouldn’t air those games. First, it would diminish the value of the product which they don’t want to do. Second, imagine the issues they’d have with advertisers. Unions might not be as strong as they once were, put spending a lot of money to buy advertising time during games whose sole purpose was to break a union would probably lead to quite a few boycotts and some seriously bad PR for those companies. Not exactly the kind of things companies want to pay for. Not to mention the fact that this wouldn’t be a strike where the workers are refusing to show up to work. It would be a lockout where workers with contracts in hand were being kept away from work while they brought in scabs. That would lead to some serious anti-trust issues, and would open the league to all kinds of civil litigation. If the “lockout insurance” were set aside, however, that would move things closer to a new cba. You’d have some powerful owners like the Mara family and the Jones family that are facing high overhead costs because of their expensive new stadiums. While the other owners wouldn’t be facing overhead costs as high as the Giants and Cowboys, their costs wouldn’t be insignificant either. That would put both side in the negotiation under financial pressure and force both sides to actually compromise to get a deal done. Oh, and despite the inaccurate or incomplete reports out there, not all of the money the league would receive would need to be paid back. If absolutely no games were played this upcoming season (highly unlikely), they league would still receive a full $1 billion from DirectTV for the exclusive rights to the Sunday package.

  44. zaggs says: Feb 24, 2011 11:34 PM

    The league does not have a duty to max out contracts with TV. If doing so would cause harm to the TV companies and thereby compromise their ability to broadcast games it would be in the interest of the league NOT to max out compensation.
    Also why can’t the league negotiate this type of insurance. Sure it only benefits the league BUT, and this is a major BUT, the league must pay back all that money if there are no games. Hence its not “insurance”, its a loan. So then the NFLPA must be saying it is illegal for the league or teams to take out loans.
    ________________________
    When the league negotiated an agreement with the players association to pay the players a percentage of the revenue as opposed to a flat amount, then they took upon themselves the legal responsibility to negotiate the best possible deal. This is even more vital considering the fact that the League’s negotiators are the only ones in the room with the networks. While there is nothing wrong with the league arranging for loans in general, in this case the league gave up the ability to negotiate a higher paying contract in order to negotiate a special clause that would benefit the owners and put the players at a disadvantage in future negotiations. That is far from negotiating in good faith, which the league’s deal with the players requires them to do, and is at least bordering on fraud.

    Look at it this way, say you and a partner ran a business together. Now say your partner went behind your back and made a deal with a handful of wealthy clients that would delay payment and keep a large chunk of revenue off the books, making the company look less profitable than it is. Your partner then borrowed money from these clients against that future income (as part of the deal) to buy you out of the company for a lesser amount than it would have taken had you known about the true stream of revenue the company was generating. Your partner would be bargaining with your clients in bad faith so as to put you at a disadvantage in future negotiations. That’s fraud. While this case isn’t that extreme, it is similar in nature. By the way, it’s not all just a loan. The $1 billion they get from DirectTV for PPV rights the league keeps whether or not a single game is played.

  45. Let’s get one thing straight before condemning the owners for striking the “lockout insurance deal” with the networks:

    The NFL OWNS the NFL product, the players DON’T.

    The players have no say in the negotiations and final agreement of the TV package, nor should they. The owners DID get the best deal for the players, while serving their own best interests at the same time. The players didn’t complain that the money in that agreement wasn’t enough, right? Now that they learn the league cut a deal for the insurance, all of a sudden that money ISN’T enough?

    When the players gain the right to negotiate the Network TV deals, then THEY can dictate the terms.

  46. stanklepoot says:

    *******************

    Please read what I’ve written about Jones. He doesn’t have those big costs like people think. Other than that, your post is great. 🙂

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