Back to Basics
In all this discussion two quite separate issues are being run together and that is what is partially causing some of the confusion with respect to a CBA. So back to the basics...
One - The NFL owners are negotiating with the NFLPA for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with that portion of their employees who already make the most money, and who don uniforms and play football. This class of employees has a minimum entry wage of 6- 8 times the median pay scale of everyone in the USA; and about 16 times the minimum wage set by law in the USA.
The median salary of this class of employees exceeeds 100 times the minimum wage set by law in the USA.
Two - The NFL owners are negotiating with themselves for a new way of maintaining League wide financial health and competiveness by agreeing to share revenues to insure that the smallest market team can competitively place a team on the field with the largest and most lucrative market team.
These owners are among the wealthiest people in the country. Only a very few have thier basic wealth derived from ther "football business". These few are the descendant of the "founders" and their families have been around a long time.
Although the business organization is set up as a group of independently owned "franchises", they compete against one another within the frameworlk of a company that sets rules, date of engagement, and other issues.
It is similar to the way some companies are organized. General Motors maintains many automotive divisions. The President of Pontiac cares not whether his sale of a Pontiac comes from a customer considering a Buick or a Toyota, he is measured on his ability to produce profits by sales of Pontiacs. If hiring a great engineer from Ford or from BMW or Buick will help him "win" he will do so. But the Buick president also operates in this environment and the overall company may set rules to prevent, in so far as they are able to, the loss of certain employees to another division or to any one else. In football this is called "player movement".
These are TWO FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT issues.
The NFLPA as are all unions, is based on the premise of "M-OR-E" ! Period. They will do so until they succeed in destroying that which they are party to creating, in much the way the UAW is destroying American car companies, making them scrmp on design, engineering, or quality, versus the unorganized auto companies. In the NFL case, the viewing prices will rise and finally exceed the ability, or interest to pay.
The audience is also fickle. Just wait, until TV revenues go down instead of up; as audiences decide that they would rather watch Hockey, Tiddlywinks, Shakespere or play video games.
As for the discussion amongst the owners, the decision to share revenues is "anticompetive" and "collusion" in the eyes of the leagle beagles in Washington. It is only made acceptable in the context of a "collective bargaining agreement" or an express provision that it is so, by the Congress.
The NFL does not have this congressional waiver, only MLB does. MLB baseball got its "anttrust exemption" a long time ago when rational people, (NOT today's FU*****in Lawyers!@!!) looked at a sport league and decided that it was not really a set of competing companies, but a group of divisions within a single company and therefor it was reasonable to treat it as a single entity; but one that needed to set competive distance between its divisions, by setting up quasi-separate ownerships, in an attempt to stir up interest.
That is why a threat by the NFLPA to "decertify" itself has so much power.
Were the NFLPA to do that decertification, revenue sharing as it exists today, or tomorrow, would probably be ruled illegal. Especially so, as the US has a surfeit of arseholes who went into "the LAW" and are using it as a way to brigandize the society as a whole for their own personal aggrandizement. (I never thought even Lawyers would sue Churches and win judgements that would bankrupt Orphanages and Charities and Hospitals, but they have without batting an eye, or an ounce of remorse. Those bas**rds even manage to proclaim their virtue, and have no problem sleeping at night! FU**k 'EM All!))
The owners could spend lots of money as "campaign contributions" to bribe the politicians into granting an "antitrust" waiver; spend money to ask the Judges if the precedent of MLB doesn't make sense, and hope.
Or they could simply stop revenue sharing all together.
The owners need to agree on what to share only as a way to insure their long term success, but not as prerequiste to a CBA. The CBA merely is the legally enabling machanism for their sharing. The competiveness on-field is meant to insure attentiveness by the fans, which insures long term existence. The sharing can be MORE, LESS, or the SAME as they presently share. But doing so is in thier long term interest. It is not a necessary prerequisite to a CBA.
They could still arrive at a CBA with the players even if ther were no changes. They could agree to give the players more than the 64.5% of those "designated revenues" in a new CBA, or alternatively, take a work stoppage. As a taxpayer, I would prefer that they decide to share TV and all ticket receipts on some basis. And define this as "designated revenues " for the purpose of a new CBA. I don't understand why they split 60-40% of a "normal" seat but nothing of a "fancy seat", except as an accident of history. If all they agreed to do was to share all seats at 60-40 as at present, I would be happy. This would save us all from the blackmail of.... "I need a new stadium to compete... " This hammer,held by the owners, is less necessary now as ALL the teams are esconced in facilities less than 20-30 years old, most expressly built for football and a good place to view a football match. Incidently, the blackmail has been less and less successful too. The last holdouts for public financing Stadiums have forced ther NFL to make contributions singly, by the owners like Kraft, or collectively, by the League, to get their new edifices built.
Actually doing just this and nothing more than this, would be preferable. Since we must anticipate something else to conceed to the NFLPA directors, to justify their existance, in the NEXT CBA after the new one...
It is not necessarily in the best interests of all the owners to maintain teams that have no interest in making money, other than what is handed to them.
Why is it fair for some teams to spend millions on marketing and brings in tens of millions of revenue through those efforts have to share these revenues will a team owner who has one marketing employee working out of a broom closet? With regard to "seat" revenue, this should be counted on a per seat basis not a revenue basis. If any owner can get more for his product, so be it.
I agree that players want more. They will get it. The question is how much, and whether the percentage and the type of revenue will change. In the end, the bottom line is the cap, health and pension benefits, an acceptable free agent system, and acceptable grievance system.
I never said it was fair or even think it is a subject for discussion except between and amongst 32 owners. Fair is what these 32 gentlemen decide is fair amongst themselves. None are in the poorhouse now, or would be in the immediate future. Their decision does have ramifications on the sport that like to watch and pay money to view, though.
If they were to decide to, or were forced into not sharing, by union decertification, the consequences for the sport I like to watch are inevitable.
Smaller squads around 35-36, as of old, are certain; a return to two-way football, much shorter careers since few players can endure 150 instead or 75 plays per game, are also certain. A bifurcation of monies to players is certain; stars get more, JAGs would get less. Some teams would fold, eventually. It would be a different sport, but it would go on.
MLB has endured in this fashion, so would Football. The Yankees of Webb and Topping of the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and the Steinbrenner of today are no different.
They buy Championships.
Less so today than before. Even Steinbrenner didn't own two franchises and groom Major leaguers on the St Louis Browns before bringing them up to his Yanks, as Topping used to do.
Life would go on....
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