The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Just Say "No" to a Lockout

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The NFL of 2009 is as strong as ever, more popular than any other league and caters to its fan base better than any other professional sport on the face of the planet. Any notion or argument to the contrary that the League, its players or the owners, take their fans for granted is completely unfounded, as of today. However, with the impending labor doom and potential lockout of the players after the 2010 season, that relationship may be in jeopardy.

Nearly half a century of outstanding achievement, on and off the field, may all fall by the wayside if the Management Counsel and the Players Association, can't come together and agree upon a future labor agreement without the fatal step of a player lockout after the 2010 season.

The NFL is the most successful professional sports enterprise in the history of professional sports and has achieved this title by catering to their fan base as well as abstaining from bitter, nasty and costly work stoppages. Major League Baseball and the NHL have seen their popularity decrease significantly by recent work stoppages that neither league is yet to overcome.

It is of the utmost importance to realize that it is the average fan that supports the leagues, makes them financially viable and pays the freight when they buy tickets, paraphernalia and watch the games on television thus increasing the ratings and consequentially the advertising revenues. These fans, who by and large are working Americans spending more than they can afford on their favorite teams, will invariably lose interest when they see the two sides, comprised of billionaire owners and millionaire athletes, squabbling at their expense.

There is a deal to be had between the players and management in the NFL. Both sides and their respective leaders such as Demaurice Smith of the NFLPA and Commissioner Roger Goodell, must and should heed the historical lessons of the league's unselfish forefathers such as former New York Giants owner Wellington Mara and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Otherwise all of their work will all have been for naught.

By Peter Schaffer  |  September 4, 2009; 8:21 AM ET  | Category:  Fans , NFL , New York Giants , Peter Schaffer , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Dan Snyder doesn't take the fans for granted. He sues them.

I'm sure the NFL players and owners will come to some kind of agreement before it's too late. Since the lockouts of the '80s, cooler heads seem to have realized that the NFL can almost print its own money--there's enough to go around.

Posted by: acoberst1 | September 4, 2009 4:24 PM

"The NFL is the most successful professional sports enterprise in the history of professional sports"

I think you have neglected to mention the more successful "professional sports enterprise" in Europe with the real 'football' leagues that exist there. (Known as soccer here)

Posted by: redskinsux | September 5, 2009 12:13 AM

The NFL doesn't take its fans for granted? You are kidding, right? The teams charge exorbitant seat license fees because they can. The league, through its markteting, makes fans pay several hundred dollars for jerseys, etc. that cost well below those prices. Slap an NFL sticker on it and pay 500% more. The teams hold fans captive in their mostly-public paid stadiums by over- charging for food and beer and sodas. Heck, the Eagle owners even tried not to have water fountains installed in their palace, which was against the local law, so as not to let fans drink something for free. The league still wants to hold onto its blackout rule so that local fans, who can't afford the high priced tickets, would not be able to see their home teams on TV if all the seats are not sold. And do we need to talk about the $20-$25 it takes to park at those games? And the charging of full price for tickets to the exhibition (don't call them pre-season) games where the real players don't get in for more than a couple of plays, if at all? Sounds like a league that really cares about its fans...money.

Posted by: mikel7 | September 5, 2009 1:11 AM

Unless there is some sort of guarantee from the owners that holding the line and calling for a lockout will reduce the cost to fans, then I'm with the players 100% for the first time ever in a labor dispute. Given a choice, I'd much rather the talent receive the $ as opposed to Snyder and his coven of ripoff artists.

Posted by: kemp13 | September 5, 2009 9:56 AM

A lockout? Of course.
Does anyone really think the NFL owners will allow a no-cap season where some owner(s) will pull a "Steinbrenner!"
Nobody (media) made much of it when the League gave it's OK to the owners to dump its coaches/front office pension programs and establish their own (which will be scraps by comparison.)
The owners want two things. A lower cap, and a lower player pension program (i.e. they pay less into the fund and thus players will get less.)
Meanwhile, they will increase ticket prices, demand and get higher TV contracts, and stay in their role as guardians of the game.

Posted by: WHGHOST | September 5, 2009 2:27 PM

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