PFT has a story up about how small market teams could be hurt by the new CBA. That's hardly news. This tidbit in the story did catch my eye:
The proverbial elephant in the room remains, for the owners, revenue sharing. As one source with knowledge of the situation tells us, it’s still a big issue for the small-market teams, but so far no one has been willing to bring it up.
Why wouldn't the Bills (or any other small market team) raise the issue of revenue sharing and/or the impact the new CBA appears destined to have on clubs with slender profit margins? I understand that getting a deal done is of prime importance to all NFL franchises. Are small market teams already pushed so close to the point of losing money that they're willing to accept a bad deal - for the small market teams, not for the other teams or players - for the short term "gain" of no revenue lost due to missed games?
Giving players 48 percent of all revenue means that the per-team responsibility will be skewed by the significant unshared revenues generated by large-market teams. As a practical matter, this drives up the relative labor costs — and eats into the profit margins — of the small-market teams.
This is the point I made in a reply to a story yesterday. Some didn't believe that it was a real concern as the rising tide of revenue (generally) would lift all boats. My fear is that some boats will rise quite a bit faster than others, swamping those left in their wakes.
I'm curious as to what others think as to possible CBA parameters that would appeal to the players, large market owners and small market owners. Were I in the room with the owners I'd float the following:
- Draw a bold line between shared revenue (like TV deals, NFL merchandise) and unshared revenue (everything generated by individual teams).
- Offer the players a greater portion of the shared revenue, with the percentage being pegged at a rate that pretty much is in line with the amount of cash the players will see with the 48% of total revenue deal currently being discussed. If the players were getting, say, $4 billion with 48% figure then the players would need to still get $4 billion with the higher percentage of genuinely shared revenue. I haven't the foggiest what that percentage would need to be though I'm guessing somewhere north of 60%.
- The league would take a certain percentage of shared revenue for the NFL offices. It's likely that some percentage would also need to be directed towards retired players, though if it was up to me I'd make the cutoff date for eligibility for funds from that pool of money the year after the veteran minimum hit 6 figures. It's one thing to help out a guy from the 60s who played for (relative) chicken feed and quite another to send checks to guys who made nearly half a million dollars a year to ride the pine.
- Reserve all revenue generated by a team for that team. Wilson, for example, would keep 100% of the money from tickets, stadium advertising, parking fees, overpriced beer and so on that were generated at the Ralph. (With the exception of playoff tickets, where the box would have to be split with the visiting team.) Whatever the 1/32 slice of the remaining shared revenue was would be added to the locally generated revenue to form the team's bottom line.
I think the players would go for it because, well, they're not losing anything. The big market owners may go for it because they keep what they make. Sure, Jones would want a larger slice of shared revenue than other teams got but I don't think he'd be too unhappy when he realized that he got to keep 100% of his gate instead of splitting it with teams like Buffalo (where Jones takes, in his view, a serious pay cut just to play). I can see the small market teams going for it simply because it keeps the wolves away from the door. The biggest team expense - player salaries - is coming out of shared revenue and everything generated at the stadium (plus 1/32 of the what remains of the shared revenue after the players, league and retired players get their pieces) belongs to the team. While the Bills would never be as profitable as the Cowboys, each team would have the same money to spend on players and the Bills wouldn't be shoveling money into Jones' pockets when he gets his naming rights deal.
Anyway, that's my thought. I'm curious as to the solutions others might craft.