When discussing 2011 season, owners walk tightrope between fans and players


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.


19 responses to “When discussing 2011 season, owners walk tightrope between fans and players

  1. I say they split the money 33/33 and the other 33 percent goes back to the fans. Either getting our teams new stadiums, renovations, or just lowering the prices! Even give us all a free hot dog I don’t care lol

  2. To have this approach they must think the players and fan’s are really stupid….oh wait……

  3. unfortunately, for the fans the owners dont give to sh its about about fans or its players….they are the only people who have hundreds of millions of dollars on the line……..

  4. let me rephrase….
    they are the only individuals with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

  5. @airraid77 …

    Now it’s my turn to agree with you for once. But it shows the depth of ignorance here that–even though you’re strongly pro-owner–you’re getting thumbs down for stating a simple fact anyone with an IQ above 12 should know. Are these fools so caught up in union hatred they actually believe the owners love them and want what’s best for them??? At least I’m not stupid enough to believe that about the players 🙄

  6. PFT can S my D says:

    I say they split the money 33/33 and the other 33 percent goes back to the fans. Either getting our teams new stadiums, renovations, or just lowering the prices! Even give us all a free hot dog I don’t care And the other 1 percent give to charity

    Maybe you can be the fan’s rep at the negotiating table and this can be our proposal. Too bad we don’t get a vote. We’d both sides outnumbered 😉

  7. If you want to help resolve the labor dispute, DO NOT WATCH NFL NETWORK, DO NOT BUY ANY NFL MERCHANDISE, DO NOT RENEW PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY OR ANY OTHER FOOTBALL PUBLICATION AND DO NOT FOLLOW THE DRAFT. The only way this will get resolved is if owners start to think they are losing money and fans.

    Fans on strike!

  8. Deb,
    I am pro-owner….and for a reason.
    Owners represent everybodies ability to make money. No matter what anybody says, the working man loses in the long run if the rich lose now. And I am not talking about just owners of sports teams or the players.
    If the rich are destroyed, EVERBODY gets the exact same thing from the exact same that are in favor of the policy change that smith is trying get.
    If the court says they have to continue losing money, and the owners really are losing money? or even in danger, there will be NO FOOTBALL.

    You have to think beyond your immediate circumstances to understand where i am coming…which most cant because they are so caught up in what they dont have.

  9. @airraid. Disagree 100%. Who is trying to destroy the wealthy or curtail the profits they generate. Not going to get in a political discussion on here, but if you think corporations and Wall Street care about the working class then history has shown you are wrong. Relating to sports all the gains that have been made on behalf of players were won by unions. From the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL…they had to fight or we would still have reserve clauses and no minimum on what teams can spend. In America you are free to leave your job for a higher pay…but for 60 years in sports you couldn’t. Why is there free agency? Because the owners thought it would be a good idea? I could go on but you probably won’t even read this.

  10. did not renew my season tix…im prolly in the minority here, but screw them both at this point. my man cave is alot more comfortable at this point.

  11. They care about making a profit, which the likes of you despise. They dont care about the worker, nor should they.
    Nobody is forcing anybody to play in the NFL.NOBODY. Go play in CFL. Nobody cares. THE PLAYER SIGNS A CONTRACT of HIS own FREE will.
    I have no problem with the players wanting to make money…..BUT I have no problem with the methods of the owners….They have the right to back out of the cba…..THE PLAYER or the UNIOn SIGNED ON TO IT. THE Players are the one who walked out of negotiations.

  12. Owners could careless about the fans!!! Except how wide our wallets open!!!

  13. @airraid77 …

    Your politics have been clear to me from the get-go–you didn’t need to explain. I simply don’t share your political views. Nor do I subscribe to your either/or thinking. I’m not trying to destroy the rich. I’m a capitalist and believe people have a right to earn what the market allows. My parents worked their way up from poverty to success. And I believe in personal responsibility. That means you do what you can to contribute to society from whatever position you happen to occupy on the socioeconomic ladder. No one should get a free ride.

    But …

    I don’t believe in fairy tales. When the wealthy move jobs overseas to workers who make 50 cents an hour, they’re not going to move them back to the States because you give them special tax incentives, break the unions, and cut wages from $12/hour to $10/hour. They’re just going to pocket those incentives. They’re not going to put money back into the economy just because you give them unsecured, unconditional bailouts as was done at the tailend of the last administration. They’re not going to do the right thing without supervision or regulation. Left to their own devices, they will dump toxic waste into our water supplies, release pharmaceuticals that cause permanent heart damage, and market cars they know will explode on rear impact. I know this because these are things they’ve already done.

    In fact, the nation was built by small business owners, not corporate giants. Small business drives the economy. The primary purpose of the rich is to get richer by any means possible. If a side product of that creates jobs, fine. But a lot of corporations have had the means for some time to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and have chosen to hold back for their own reasons. They don’t need my help or my tax money to succeed. The rich can take care of themselves … and that includes the NFL owners.

    The owners have a long history of using an abusing players, who only began to make large salaries about 15 years ago. Even now, the majority of NFL players don’t come close to earning the highly publicized amounts. But the owners are still trying to figure out how to do them out of the compensation they fought so long to secure. Players are paid according to the revenue they generate. That is capitalism. Trying to break them to benefit the billionaire owners is some mad form of tyranny.

  14. DEB,
    SO the players (workers) have every right to ask for anything they want, and the owners have no right to keep what they decide?
    So then eveybod should get the same things in life. thats your logic fully played out.

  15. @airraid77 …

    Players, owners, and everyone else charge what the market will pay. For a person who believes in capitalism, the free market, and the creation of wealth, you seem to have a big problem with how that system works. The only time I take issue is when it applies to life necessities–food, water, medicine. Then I think we have to make adjustments. But football is not a life necessity.

    When free agency came into play, the CBA set a salary cap. Certain owners, like Jerry Jones and Paul Allen–who had more personal wealth and liquidity than others–wanted to use their personal wealth to advantage. So they began handing out large multi-million-dollar signing bonuses to players that didn’t apply to the cap. Other owners couldn’t compete with that. Did you expect the players to turn down those guaranteed cash advances in a business where any game could be their last? The players didn’t ask anything; those owners threw money at them in an effort to buy a winning team.

    Next thing we knew those same owners and others were going above the salary cap. So they kept raising it. Did you expect the players to tell them to lower it again? Then owners went to the draft and started doling out ridiculous salaries for unproven rookies. The kids didn’t know how to outmaneuver the owners. Those men were trying to outmaneuver one another. And they created a merry little hell for themselves in the process that they’re blaming on players.

    I support a rookie salary cap applicable to the rookie season with merit increases for the life of the rookie contract. There’s no reason for an untested rookie to make that kind of money–but there’s no reason to hold his salary down for five or six seasons into his prime earning years either–and that was a point of contention when negotiations broke off. After that, yes, players are entitled to earnings commensurate with the revenues they generate. No matter what, the owners still receive dramatically more than the players because they take $1 billion off the top to cover expenses before dividing the rest. And players receive no part of the considerable stadium revenues or revenues from the NFL Network or Web site.

    On top of that, health care and pensions for retired players come out of the players’ revenues. At most companies, current employees are not responsible for funding the pensions of people who retired generations before. That’s the company’s responsibility.

    Anyone who thinks these 32 savvy businessmen are the underdogs to a bunch of jocks is kidding himself.

  16. DEB,
    you didnt answer my questions.
    You are responsible for your own retirment…..The players have agreed to every point you have made, as have the owners…..The owners only did what the players allowed them to do….
    IF WE DO WHAT LIBERALS want, what happens when the rich becomes what is now the middle class? you piggyback the rich long enough that is exactly what happens.

  17. @airraid77 …

    Where are you getting that the rich are becoming the middle class? The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. And the middle class is disappearing.

    No one in America is piggy-backing on the rich. Do you realize that middle-class Americans pay higher tax rates than billionaires?

    I don’t know where you’re getting your information but it’s inaccurate. You need to get over this “liberal” fetish and use some common sense. Who would be motivated to convince the public to give tax breaks to the wealthy? Who has the financial resources to fund a propaganda campaign to convince average citizens that the wealthy are being abused and are in need of tax cuts? The television and radio personalities who are telling you the wealthy are being abused by liberals belong to what socioeconomic class? (Hint: They are wealthy.)

    Common sense, airraid77. The guys with money aren’t being abused by people without money. Think. And do some research that doesn’t involve people on TV and radio.

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