Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Let’s explore a little more into the decision made by U.S. District Judge David Doty and why he ruled the NFL had violated the CBA by entering into a deal with the networks that would pay the owners $4 billion next season even in the event of a lockout.
As the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand points out, the networks seemingly didn’t want to go along with the NFL’s idea to create a war chest that would be, for lack of a better term, lockout insurance in case there was a work stoppage.
Even though the networks didn’t want anything to do with it, that didn’t matter.
As Ourand writes, FOX didn’t want to pay during a work stoppage, but the NFL said the provision was a deal-breaker.* NBC believed it was getting “hosed,” so the NFL gave the network one additional game for the 2010-2013 seasons. The NFL also told ESPN a digital deal and the lockout provision were tied together.
*It can be scary just how powerful the NFL perceives itself. And is perceived.
But the craziest portion is the NFL’s deal with DirecTV.
From Doty’s ruling: "NFL's DirecTV contract provides that DirecTV will pay a substantial fee if the 2011 season is not canceled (and will pay) up to nine percent more, at the NFL’s discretion, if the 2011 season is canceled. In the event of a canceled season, 42 percent of the fee is non-refundable and the remainder would be credited to the following season.
Forty-two percent is non-refundable? For real?
More from Doty: "Typical work- stoppage provisions (in TV deals) anticipate a strike by players, not a work stoppage created by the NFL itself."
Not only did the NFL lose this decision to keep the $4 billion (for now, anyway), but it’ll be interesting to see how badly it suffers from the NFL fans' perception of this new informations. At this point, it’s really, really hard not to believe the owners were planning for a lockout, and that they knew they would profit mightily off it. In fact, it appears that the owners would have been better off if the 2011 season was lost altogether.
It’s almost hard to believe.*
*And if it is too hard to believe, here’s the complete ruling.
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