Court ruling may put NFL owners at third and long


NFL owners had been hoping to put $4B in guaranteed television money to use to weather a possible lockout in its contract dispute with NFL players. But a court ruling which may prevent that tactic may lower the odds that a prolonged work stoppage is in the cards.

According to reports, a judge has agreed with the players that the owners were to negotiate a deal with broadcast and cable networks that worked for the mutual benefit of owners AND players. It therefore would be a breach of good faith to take TV money and use it as a slush fund to get through a work stoppage.

According to a Forbes analyst, the battle at the moment is over $9B in annual revenue for the professional football league. $4B, or about $125M per team, all by itself is almost enough to cover player salaries under 2009 terms without selling a single ticket.

Forbes notes that many teams have troublesome balance sheets and will have a difficult time getting through a year without football. And others stand to make much more than $125M if the season is played regardless of what a new deal produces in the way of a contract.

So the theory is, leverage has moved to the players’ side, and motivation on the owners’ side to get a deal done is greatly increased.

RBR-TVBR observation: There are so many businesses with a stake in the NFL. And the NFL is not least among them. It is riding very high right now, and it would be a horrible time to sully its relationship with its massive base of thoroughly addicted fans. If this ruling imposes a healthy dose on common sense on the proceeding, then we applaud it.