Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Market Size Relevant to CBA Negotiations

When the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations broke down in Washington, D.C., the first casualty was "truth".  Then the players got locked out.  Then came court cases.  It went south in a big hurry.

Since then we've only seen posturing as things need time to cool off before anyone can approach the bargaining table again.

Three years ago, the NFL owners decided to opt-out of the recently lapsed CBA.  The CBA is the "rules of the road" for the relationship between an NFL team and an individual player, covering everything from contracts to retirement to salary caps to practice limits.

The old CBA carried some significant challenges for General Managers, including a skyrocketing salary cap and unbalanced rules regarding team income from luxury boxes and stadium advertising.

It appears the owners may still be struggling with the disparity of incomes for the various franchises.  For example, the Cowboys get a nice chunk of change for all those new skyboxes in their new stadium, while smaller market teams (Buffalo, Green Bay, Kansas City, Tampa Bay) get much less for their stadium naming rights and box seats.  These are serious issues among the owners.

So it is no surprise in the final days before talks ended the owners were represented by a large market team (John Mara, New York Giants), a middle market team (Art Rooney II, Pittsburgh Steelers), and a small market team (Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs).  This begs the question as to whether the owners have their own differences settled, or if the various market sizes have certain agenda items they wish to address.

If the owners don't have agreement among themselves, then an agreement with the players may not be coming anytime soon.  The NFL players union demanded to see team-by-team financials just before the talks broke down -- perhaps the players sense some blood in the water regarding the owner's disputes over money and were looking to define it.

How silly will this get?  The player's union has disbanded and now it appears players will be suing owners, using money the owners paid to the players.  A prolonged court battle is the last thing the opening of the 2011 training camps need.

So, NFL fans, I encourage you to enjoy the 2011 draft.  There may not be anything else but reruns for the rest of the summer.

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