The NFL owners and players both want their share of the revenue in the ongoing NFL Labor dispute. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is expiring today and the players are planning to de-certify the union. The owners will then respond by locking the players out of Training Camps and the NFL Lockout will officially begin.
All this means is that without a meeting of the minds between the owners and players, the fans will not have football to watch in the fall. The chance remains that they will end up working something out that does not delay the 2011 regular season, but with free agency already delayed, the NFL Draft looming next month and the OTA's starting shortly thereafter, the domino effect could significantly alter the season long before the first game is scheduled to be played.
The fans have consolidated to try to get a seat at the bargaining table, but s logical as it may sound, neither other group wants them there. This is between the two of them in their minds and they know that once they reach an agreement, the fans will be back in their seats, paying whatever prices the league charges to watch this great game. However, why not have the new agreement benefit the fans as well, and still give the players and owners what they want?
I'm no lawyer, but the owners want a bigger piece of the pie and the players want to protect theirs. There needs to be some set rookie salary scale, which could limit the number of years in their initial contract. There is no way to justify paying college kids who have never played a down in the NFL more than many of its stars. There is a glaring and embarrassing need for more money to flow to the older, retired players health fund.
At the same time, both sides in this dispute want to get paid and handsomely at that. Let them slice off a portion of that pie for the former players and then negotiate the revenue split with the remaining revenue. I have heard that if they each give one-half of one percent to the retired players health fund, it would total something like $10 million dollars more to what is sorely needed for the guys who paved the way for today's generation of players.
But there's more to be divied up. Take another slice of the pie that will lower ticket prices around the league proportionately. Even a drop off $5 per ticket would save fans tens of millions of dollars over the course of the season. Yes, the players and owners would get less in the end, but they could still work out their proportion to their mutual satisfaction. The drop in salaries per player would be minimal and the profit margins should still be there with both less revenue and also less expenses.
The big issue with the CBA is that no matter what, the big stars in the league will still get those huge bucks. The players that round out the rosters of the 32 teams will be the ones to feel the heat and their salaries and bonuses will be the ones most affected. So give us fans a cut of the pie, and while we don't need a seats at the bargaining table, we would like this statement of proving that the owners and players do indeed appreciate those who sit in the stands, but the concessions, wear the team gear and make what they get possible.
Of course, this will never happen, but wouldn't it be a great idea?