Special Report: NFL Lockout 101

By Kristin Gold - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and the NFL players association expires Friday March 4th. NFL sources are positive there will be a lockout. The main disagreement is sharing $10 billion in revenue.

Right now owners take a $1 billion share of all NFL revenue. Then players then receive 59 percent of what is left over, roughly $5.4 billion. The owners want to take more money off the top before slicing up the pie for sharing. The players would still be getting 59 percent, but it would be a smaller pie, resulting in a $900 million decrease in player revenue.

"Everything should be in proportion and the proportion is favoring the players," said an anonymous NFL source. "The players are obviously going to make proposals and they're obviously going to favor the players union. It's the owners that opted out of the agreement. They're saying 'why would the owners have agreed upon a deal like this years ago if it's not a fair deal?' It's because at the time it was a good deal but things have changed in the past few years."

What's changed? New stadiums like the new Meadowlands and Cowboys stadiums, which each cost over a $1 billion.  And rookie wages, like Sam Bradford who signed a six-year contract worth $78 million, $50 million guaranteed before he even stepped on the field.

"You look at salaries and salaries are increasing they're not decreasing so the owners are having to spend more money when they're already spending a lot of their own money to help out the team and they're not getting the type of return on their investment that they would like."

According to Forbes, NFL revenues grew by 9 percent during the recession, with 19 of the 32 teams worth at least $1 billion.  In the poor economy game attendance dropped by less than a percent. But, the claim by the league is that owners cash flow has declined by $200 million. The only evidence to show this is the financial information available to the public: the Green Bay Packers. The Packers saw a $10 million decrease in profits from 2008 to 2009. But, the rest of the teams refuse to open their books.

"The owners are hesitant to release their books because they don't feel that they should have to," the source said. "They're the ones that are paying the players and they know what the money situation of their teams are"

To date, no agreement has been reached and the NFL owners have walked out of meetings. NFL sources are not optimistic.

"Both of them are trying to find more ways to get money any way they can are not really willing to consider the fact that they could end up canceling a season of the sport."

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