Team owners may luck out in NFL lockout scenario

David Gura Jan 5, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Team owners may luck out in NFL lockout scenario

David Gura Jan 5, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: For pro football fans, excitement about the playoffs is mixed with anxiety about the very real chance there might be a lockout next season. Today, a court-appointed investigator hears a complaint from the league’s players union. The players argue owners inked deals with TV networks for less money than they could’ve gotten. On purpose.

Marketplace’s David Gura reports.


David Gura: Players and owners have been trying to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement since 2008. The contract runs out in just two months.

But if there’s a lockout and games get canceled, owners will still get $4.5 billion from TV contracts they negotiated. The NFL Players Association calls it “lockout insurance” and says it’s an unfair advantage.

Michael McCann: The players are concerned that owners are going to say, well, we’re going to be paid anyway next year, we’re not in a great hurry to negotiate, and if players don’t want to go with what we want, then they’re gonna have to be the ones to wait out.

Michael McCann directs the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School.

McCann: I think the harder question is whether or not that’s actually illegal, and whether or not it contravenes the spirit of the collective bargaining agreement and any of its provisions.

Team owners want more games in a season, a pay ceiling for rookies, and a greater share of revenues. Both sides had hoped to reach an agreement before the Super Bowl. Michael McCann still holds out hope.

McCann: At the end of the day, it would seem that it’s in both parties’ interests to get a deal done and to continue playing football.

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.