NFL owners and the NFL Players Association are likely nearing a collective bargaining agreement after owners approved the terms Thursday. Media companies and the NFL have been waiting for the CBA’s approval before negotiating new broadcast rights for NFL games, which are locked up until 2022. The results will have a major impact on traditional media as millions of Americans cut the cord on pay-TV each year.
Owners want players to agree to stand for the anthem. The union has so far backed the players’ right to protest. That leaves very little middle ground on the issue, and both the league and union must deal with factions within their ranks, complicating deliberations even further.
As National Football League team owners and the players union dig in for a potentially lengthy legal battle, NFL officials said owners have already set aside enough money to cover them in case the 2011 season is canceled.
U.S. District Judge David Doty on Tuesday overturned an earlier ruling and said the league’s TV contracts with CBS, NBC, ESPN, Fox and DirecTV — which allowed the NFL owners to still be paid a combined $4 billion in rights fees even if there were no NFL games next season — violated the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association. That’s a big win for the union and a blow to the league. But, winners and losers aside, the judge might have just equaled the playing field and hastened a settlement.
A U.S. District judge in Minneapolis said he will rule quickly on the legal fight between the National Football League and its players union over some $4 billion in television money.
A 30-second spot, which can be seen on the union’s YouTube channel, is intended to pressure CBS into airing the original ad, which was to appear on the CBS College Sports Network on Feb. 5 during the NFLPA All-Star Game.
CBS has rejected the “Let Us Play” ad from the National Football League Players Association that was to air Feb. 5, on the CBS College Sports Network, the union says.
The NFL collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on March 4, and as both sides remain entrenched, a lockout now seems all but inevitable. In a worst-case scenario, the entire 2011-12 campaign would be scuttled, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue and sending media buyers scrambling for replacements. Indeed, the NFL plays such a critical role in the TV market that even the loss of a handful of games could be catastrophic to the spring upfront.
In the battle to sway public sentiment over a potential National Football League lockout, the NFL Players Association is hoping a social-media-backed video and petition drive will gain traction with fans.