MDS posted earlier today an item regarding the latest letter from Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy to the team’s season-ticket holders in which he expresses confidence that the Packers will celebrate their championship with a prime-time Thursday night opening game to launch the 2011 season.
The comments, which were tacked onto the massaged version of the latest league talking points (seen last week in letters from the Falcons and Eagles), make plenty of sense, from a business standpoint.
The owners needs fans to renew their season tickets. Thus, if the owners say anything other than “there will be a season,” fans may opt not to buy season tickets.
The problem is that the players hear these statements, too. Thus, the owners’ commitment to playing football in 2011 (Titans owner Bud Adams recently “guaranteed” that a season will happen) diminishes to a certain extent the league’s ability to drive a hard bargain, since vowing to the fans that games will be played this season takes the ultimate economic weapon against the players — denial of game checks — off the table. Thus, the players could dig in even harder as the season approaches, refusing to move from their desire to continue to get 50 cents of every dollar earned, since the owners have promised that games will be played.
But the owners likely aren’t concerned. If there’s no game on September 8 at Lambeau Field, and/or no 2011 season at all, Murphy and other owners will be sending out a new wave of letters blaming it all on the players.