Labor strife looming for the NFL?


The owners of NFL football teams have exercised an opt-out clause of a deal signed in 2006, which was based on a basic agreement going back to 1993, which will bring an early end to a labor deal that would have run through the 2013 season, and which is said to put the 2011 season in jeopardy. NFL Players Union head Gene Upshaw found the owners’ move completely predictable. According to the Associated Press, players get $4.5B share of revenues, just under 60% of total league income. Ownership believes that current economic conditions are favoring the players and punishing management and wants to opt out of the deal per a mechanism included in the agreement, and renegotiate.

RBR/TVBR observation: Management and labor in the world of professional sports do not have a particularly stellar track record when it comes to smooth negotiations. Brinksmanship, strikes, lock-outs, cancelled games and even cancelled seasons are often the order of the day. So if the NFL is a big part of your broadcast schedule, it is not too early to start scoping out the availability of Gilligan’s Island reruns, or to find out what syndicated networks are available in your market, or to check out how things are going in either the Canadian or the Australian football leagues.