NFL Lockout Looks Likely on CBA Deadline Day

March 3, 2011

Negotiations continued with an outcome of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Football League (NFL) owners and players union still far from imminent, making the realisation of a potential lockout next season all the more apparent as the current deal expires at 23:59ET (04:59GMT).

Both parties are in talks in Virginia while a federal mediator in Washington continues to negotiate with the players’ union over how to divide US$9 billion in revenue. The end of the CBA could lead to a lockout next season, although such a prospect would seem unthinkable to many just a month after the Super Bowl generated the largest audience in United States TV history.

George Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who last year brokered an eleventh-hour deal between Major League Soccer and its players, said last week that “very strong differences remain” between the two sides.

Federal judge David Doty in Minneapolis earlier this week ruled that the NFL improperly negotiated television contracts to receive $4 billion in revenue if a work stoppage leads to games being cancelled next season.

A report from Forbes states that the NFL owners want players to finance a $16bn increase in aggregate value for the league’s 32 teams in a new collective bargaining agreement, or an average of $510 million per team, 50% more than the average NFL franchise is currently worth.

The owners want to reduce the amount of league revenue that can go towards player salaries from $8bn to $7bn.