The NFL collective bargaining agreement does not expire until after the 2020 season season, but owners and the NFLPA have been holding meetings this summer, perhaps with the intent of hammering out an agreement 1-2 years ahead of schedule. There were meetings in Chicago last week, and there hadn’t been a lot of leaks out of them, except Mike Florio reporting that they were happening and Albert Breer noting that the revenue split — which, all things considered, is the most meaningful distinction in the CBA — was on the docket.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Media provides a slight update:
NFL Media is an interesting entity given that the reporters are covering the entity and also, by extension, the team owners that employ them. It’s thus difficult to imagine a nugget like this one being inaccurate.
It would be fantastic news for football fans if this breakthrough magically did happen because even the threat of a work stoppage, like the 2011 lockout that lasted four months but did not ultimately impact regular season games, makes for an aggravating and anxious summer news flow.
Provided they can come up with a mutually agreeable split of the pie, there are also incentives for both the players and owners to get a deal done early. The TV rights expire in 2021 for Monday Night Football and 2022 for the rest of the league’s rights packages, and the sooner there is labor accord, the better opportunity exists for Roger Goodell and the owners to leverage increases in new deals.
Even if NFL ratings — which were up last year — are diminished from their peak a few years ago, they have fared far better than virtually everything else on TV and are the dominant way for advertisers to reach people with real-time scale. If TV deals go up, everyone makes more money. Will the union and the league be able to reach an agreement before opening day to optimally capitalize on this dynamic?