NFL kills $100 mil revenue sharing fund

Forum thread

Speaking of have-nots, the NFL has notified the players’ union that it is ending a $100 million supplementary revenue sharing pool, used to help the bottom line of low revenue teams. It’s one of many salvos being used to frame the inevitably contentious CBA discussions to come. The rationale reads like this:

A management source said when the owners chose for an early opt-out of the labor deal, triggering an uncapped year in 2010, it opened the door for the supplemental pool to be disbanded.

Lower-revenue clubs that have been subsidized under the supplemental plan will not be subject to the minimum spending rules that exist with the current salary-cap system.

UPenn law professor and NFL mediator Stephen Burbank believes that the league is bound by the CBA to keep the supplementary pool intact through the end of the CBA, which expires after the 2011 season. So as expected, the NFLPA is challenging the move. Really, however, this isn’t their battle. This is between the haves and the have-nots, of which all three California teams fall into the latter category thanks to old, antiquated stadiums. Forbes’ latest numbers have the bottom 10 franchises as follows (keep in mind that the estimated 2009 salary cap is $127 million):

  • Arizona – $223 million
  • Cincinnati – $222
  • Buffalo – $222
  • St. Louis – $217
  • Jacksonville – $217
  • Oakland – $215
  • San Francisco – $214
  • Minnesota – $209
  • Detroit – $208

Arizona, Cincinnati, and Detroit aren’t relocation candidates thanks to their new venues. The others are all fair game. You might be thinking, “How can a team pulling in $208 million cry poor when the salary cap is $80 million less?” Well, that’s not the point. The problem is that the Redskins pulled in $345 million, the Pats $302 million, and the Cowboys $280 million – and that’s before the Taj MaJerry opened. If anything, should this move be approved it should spur the have-nots even more on push for new stadiums. And since two of those bottom feeders are the Bay Area teams who will lose out on a combined $40 million over the next two years (and perhaps beyond), it might be just the thing to push them into a stadium-sharing situation.

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