Issue of stadium credits hovers over CBA talks

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At least three rounds of Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions have been held, and the process (we’re told) will continue in mid-July. Although there has been, and will be, plenty of discussion regarding specific issues that may or may not be resolved or changed in the next labor deal, the primary issue between the NFL and the NFL Players Association will continue to be money.

More specifically in this context, how the money will be divided.

Prior to 2011, the players got 60 percent of the split — but only after management took plenty of money off the top. As of 2011, the players focused on getting more of the gross, with the amount the players receive currently in the range of 47 percent. Now, owners hope to push the pendulum toward getting more off the top, before the split happens.

The buzzwords for the current negotiations will be “stadium credits.” In a nutshell, and per a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the league wants to divert a significant amount of the money that currently is shared between owners and players to stadium construction and renovation projects.

The issue has prompted the NFLPA to scoff at the notion that the current talks relate to an “extension” of the 2011 agreement. “Extension” implies that the current deal will proceed without major tweaks. The stadium-credits issue would, in the view of the players, constitute a major tweak.

Details regarding the amount of the desired credits or the manner in which they would be applied are not yet available. The first hurdle for the NFLPA becomes a philosophical one: Do the players want to essentially be in the business of partially paying for the stadiums in which the players play their games?

It’s easy to say that management is responsible for providing the workplace, and that the players are responsible for the work. That becomes an oversimplification, however, if it’s a subject on which the NFL would implement a lockout.

So the question becomes whether the NFLPA can or will justify sacrificing some of its overall revenue, and what the players would get in exchange? As it relates to the issue of stadium credits, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the players to have a voice in how the money is used. Really, why should the players blindly contribute to a fund that will exclusively controlled by others?

If things unfold in this manner, it would create a new wrinkle in the broader business considerations that drive the decision-making process when it comes to building new stadiums. If, for example, the NFLPA were partially funding the new Rams stadium in Inglewood (via enhanced stadium credits), the NFLPA should have had some say over whether Rams owner Stan Kroenke should have taken the deal to stay in St. Louis, where plenty of public money was available — and where the team/league (and players) contribution would have been less.

Spinning it forward to cities that currently have stadium issues, the NFLPA would/should/could have influence over the stadium solution in Buffalo. What if, collectively, the NFL’s workforce deems it prudent to have its own money spent in a different market? A market where the return on the investment could be greater? A market where more NFL players would prefer to live and to work?

For decades, the issue of team relocation has been driven by the preferences of the owners of the teams, as guided (most of the time) by the league. If the NFL gets what it wants by way of player contributions for stadium construction, the long-overdue question of whether players want a team to be in one market over another market may finally become relevant to the broader question of where NFL teams will be headquartered.

36 responses to “Issue of stadium credits hovers over CBA talks

  1. Do the players want to essentially be in the business of partially paying for the stadiums in which the players play their games?

    You mean like every workplace since the beginning of time?

  2. If the players get control, “Goodbye Cincy, goodbye Cleveland, goodbye Green Bay, goodbye Buffalo.” Basically any place that is a smallish city in the rust belt. These were the birthplace of football. However, who wants to play in harsh cold outdoor environments? Who wants to be ‘stuck’ in small cities when you have a pile of money? No one wants to play outside in 6 degree weather. Football hurts enough. I’ve played (high school) in below freezing weather. It hurts more. Given a choice, players would want to play in moderate temperatures on the safest surface they can. Cincy, Cleveland, and Buffalo all suffer a competitive disadvantage for their locations. Most players don’t want to be there. A few do, a few prefer the safer, calmer life style of a small city.

  3. The players should say “Sure, but we demand that a new company owned by NFLPA have exclusive rights to parking and concessions currently controlled by ownership.”

    Any current contracts with 3rd parties when concluded automatically get assigned to the new company.

    That would pause the owners. It would also pause cities who are bending over for a team.

  4. “Do the players want to essentially be in the business of partially paying for the stadiums in which the players play their games?”

    Absolutely not. Many players only have a few years in the league at the lower end of the salaries. That’s the nature of things but hey shouldn’t be forced to help pay for stadiums.

    What I see going on is the vast greed of the owners is starting to hit more and more public money walls with taxpayers telling them pay for your own billion dollar palaces. As it becomes harder to extort taxpayers they now think they can extort the players into making up the difference.

    Disgusting. The level of greed the owners have is absolutely disgusting

  5. The stadium credits thing is lesson 101 in getting rich: “always spend other people’s money”. The players should demand that an equal amount of the owners’ share be applied to stadium credits as well. Or that stadium credits only be applied to things like training facilities and locker rooms.

    jimnaizeeum says:
    July 2, 2019 at 10:18 am
    Do the players want to essentially be in the business of partially paying for the stadiums in which the players play their games?

    You mean like every workplace since the beginning of time?
    ___________________________________________________

    Barbers and hair dressers are the only occupation that I’m aware of where the employer demands rent for your work space. I’ve worked in several industries and not one charged me to use my workplace. Where do you work that your boss forces you to pay them for your workplace?

  6. Whatever the owners want, they will get. 1. The heads of the players union are much stupider than the billionaire owners and their $3000. per hour lawyers, and 2. the players always cave when the paychecks stop coming in.

  7. Florio, you may wish to rethink one of your remarks:

    “Do the players want to essentially be in the business of partially paying for the stadiums in which the players play their games?”

    Players are being asked to fund stadiums that they may never play in, given their short shelve lives.

    There’s more to the story than what meets the eye, but then you’d have to look at the financial accounting and assorted gimmickry that are superimposed over cash flows. It’s the stuff that Enron dreams are made of.

  8. Prior to 2011, the players got 60 percent of the split — but only after management took plenty of money off the top.
    ——
    Nicky Santoro in Casino during the skim monologue explaining the count room…..

    I mean, God forbid they should make a mistake and forget to steal.

  9. Do the players (or taxpayers) get a piece of the action when the stadium hosts a music concert? A monster truck rally? A political rally? An expo of any kind?

    The answer to that question should be the same answer for who should pay for the stadium and the land the stadium is built on in the first place.

  10. Barbers and hair dressers are the only occupation that I’m aware of where the employer demands rent for your work space. I’ve worked in several industries and not one charged me to use my workplace. Where do you work that your boss forces you to pay them for your workplace?

    ——-
    If the Owner of my company didn’t have to pay for my work place, the owner would have more money to pay me.

    Players are employees and they aren’t paying for their workplace. Yes, they help generate the revenue, but w/o the owners there is no NFL or revenues.

    I don’t have any issue if the players want to negotiate a better split, but saying the NFLPA or the players are partially funding new stadiums is ridiculous.

  11. I think the revenue percentages get adjusted, the players get marijuana off the tested substance list and the stadium credit gets approved in the next CBA. The players will have zero say in how the credits are used. This will be a great addition for Buffalo, as Terry and Kim Pegula (Bills Owners) will be able to build their new Ford Field/Lucas Oil type stadium downtown next to all the land they have acquired there. The Bills will remain in Buffalo for my lifetime (I’m 47).

  12. Nothing I like better than reading about millionaire fighting against billionaires over what basically is the fans money. Who are not billionaires or millionaire. Makes me feel kind of needed in a small way. Why don’t social do gooders ever take up the case of how professional sports (owners and athletes) are taking the everyday person to the cleaners. The blame all kinds of other franchises but somehow professional sports and the Entertainment Industry gets fee passes.

  13. Do players get a share of the parking, food/beverage, luxury box revenue?

    Or do they only get a slice of the TV, ticket, and merchandise revenue?
    If the former, then why should they subsidize an “enhanced” stadium that they don’t get any additional money out of.

    The players get hurt and worn out and I think they should get more than they get now.
    If MLB is 54% to the players then the NFL should be that or more to the players.

  14. I’m curious how this would work given I’ve heard at least some owners purposefully split stadium operations off as a separate business entity to try and keep it (and all revenue from it) separate from the team itself. Seems like they wouldn’t be able to do that if they were going to be forcing the players to contribute money towards building it. And you can bet the players would demand a cut of the stadium revenues if they were helping build them.

  15. So let me get this right. The owners want to take money from the players to enrich themselves even more for the next 30 years on billion dollar stadium deals, while the average player’s career is over in 3.5? Yet, the player will have pretty much donated some of his income to a stadium he may never play in or make money off of…?
    The entire NFL is a joke. And if Dee Smith and the rest of his NFLPA knuckleheads allow this to happen I would be speechless. There is definitely a work stoppage coming.

  16. I read this stadium credit thing this way: owners realize the days of local govenrments contributing taxpayer dollars to stadiums is done. So, have the players contribute instead.

  17. Employees have no say in the building they work at. So why would players get a say in the stadium?

    They not even real employees, they are contract workers.

  18. To say they’re helping pay for the new stadium is dubious, at best. But I’m sure no matter what happens, ticket prices won’t go down.

  19. The players should insist on health and wellness credits whereby they each get credits for they house they have to buy to live near the stadium, the food they buy to stay alive and healthy, the home gym they put in to maintain their physical conditioning…and everything else they pay for that keeps them in peak physical condition in order to play football – because that’s basically what the owners want credit for too.

  20. Lost in this discussion is the split between stars and the rest of the players, who make up the bulk of the league but would see very little of any increase in the players’ cut

    Do you think 40-some Packers are gonna go to the wall so Aaron Rodgers can make an extra $20-30M?

  21. “If, for example, the NFLPA were partially funding the new Rams stadium in Inglewood (via enhanced stadium credits), the NFLPA should have had some say over whether Rams owner Stan Kroenke should have taken the deal to stay in St. Louis, where plenty of public money was available — and where the team/league (and players) contribution would have been less.”

    The NFLPA also might have had a say as to how many Refs the NFL needed to pay off to help sell those PSL’s.

  22. So basically it’s like the start of every other CBA negotiating process. Owners ask for the moon & stars, players will do the same. They will settle somewhere in the middle after much drama and vitriol.

    Non-story.

  23. Stadium credits should only be awarded to owners of teams without publicly funded stadiums

  24. “Really, why should the players blindly contribute to a fund that will exclusively controlled by others?”…excuse me, we the taxpayer have been funding these massive buildings for decades with no say in the function or design of the stadium. We don’t make money off the stadiums like the players do. In fact, we have to PAY to enter the stadiums that WE fund. So excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for these millionaires crying poor mouth. The owners are sacrificing their potential stadium revenue in the deal too. Does the NFLPA want their product to be good or do they want to choke their golden goose?

  25. The taxpayers get stuck with the stadium construction bills. That means you and I.

  26. The only way small market teams will remain in their small market is to be publicly owned like Green Bay. Currently NFL forbids it. This is the only way I see a team to stay in buffalo.

  27. Look, if you don’t want cities being help up for cash every time stadium renovation or replacement is needed, having teams set aside a portion of revenue so players HAVE A NICE PLACE TO PLAY/SURFACE TO PLAY ON isn’t a bad idea. Players make lots of money. The issue is WHICH players make it. For me, given the short span of the average career and the rookie contract situation, I’d say get the NFLPA shorten the rookie contract max to 3 years, and double the minimum salaries. Let the cap be where it is and teams will have to pay fewer ridiculous contracts. But get the rank and file decent pay and benefits.

  28. Thetruthspeaks says:
    July 2, 2019 at 11:50 am
    Barbers and hair dressers are the only occupation that I’m aware of where the employer demands rent for your work space. I’ve worked in several industries and not one charged me to use my workplace. Where do you work that your boss forces you to pay them for your workplace?

    ——-
    If the Owner of my company didn’t have to pay for my work place, the owner would have more money to pay me.

    Players are employees and they aren’t paying for their workplace. Yes, they help generate the revenue, but w/o the owners there is no NFL or revenues.

    I don’t have any issue if the players want to negotiate a better split, but saying the NFLPA or the players are partially funding new stadiums is ridiculous

    ____________________
    The owner of your company could pay you more but likely wouldn’t; there is no “have to” in that equation. Pay is based on the value that a position brings to the company augmented by the employee’s ability. People in better offices tend to make more not less.

    Without players there is no NFL. It’s a symbiotic relationship one cannot exist without the other.

    NFL ownership is asking the players to take a pay cut and use that money to fund stadiums. As you pointed out building stadiums is how the owners make the NFL exist.

  29. The only absolutely certain thing is that the uber-wealthy owners will do whatever they can to have anyone and everyone else fund their expenses instead of them. After all, being a multi-billionaire, it’s getting tougher to “feed one’s family.”

  30. It baffles me somewhat that as much talk goes on about the NFL’s various problems with owners screwing over both players and local taxpayers, it is seldom pointed out that the key to all of it is the NFL’s legal status as a monopoly.

    If you want to play football professionally, you have to play for an NFL team. If you want to have a major league football team in your city, you are subject to the NFL.

    Sure, people will say that others are free to start a rival league, but we’ve seen time and time again how the NFL’s market dominance crushes even leagues that aren’t directly competing against them.

    The NFL owners have the players by the balls. They aren’t afraid of a work stoppage, because they’ll still be filthy rich. The players are, because most of them aren’t rich and have a very, very short prospective playing career.

  31. If the owners want the players to also contribute in on building the owners a new stadium then it’s only fair that they then split the stadium revenue for all events hosted there.

  32. They need to figure out that they are employees and already have unrealistic careers in the major view of things. The whole short career argument is BS as most (even the minimum paid) make more than the normal average employee and 90% of them have careers in the private sector as again most have a degree and do not have debilitating injuries. Just like any union shop or any other employee.. If you do not like where you work then find a new employer.

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