Special meeting to discuss revenue sharing
NFL owners will hold a special meeting in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and Wednesday on an issue that tests the league like none other in the past 45 years, according to Dan Rooney.
The league that has been a model of revenue sharing among its franchises since 1960 is fast splitting into the haves and haves-not. Unless new guidelines are forged soon it threatens to disrupt the NFL's competitive balance and endanger the chances of extending the collective bargaining agreement that has been the most successful in pro sports.
"I think this takes us back to 1960 when we decided to split the television revenue equally," Rooney said. "It's as big as that because the disparity between the top team and the bottom team has grown phenomenally and the projection out into the future is just mind-boggling."
While the league shares income from its national television contract, ticket sales and national marketing, much of the local revenue generated in other areas by individual teams is not shared. Examples of the revenue teams may keep all to themselves are local radio and television deals, advertising in stadiums and on scoreboards, sponsorships and profits from other marketing plans, some lounge-box rentals, and naming rights for stadiums, practice fields, individual halls of fame and others.
"I'm not saying all that revenue should be shared," Rooney said. "What I'm saying to you is that is what has created the disparity. That is the issue. You have very active teams on both ends saying we should give more or saying we can't give any more. That's where it is."
Teams such as Arizona, Indianapolis, Minnesota and Atlanta do not attract the kinds of revenue others like New England and Dallas bring in. As a result, the salary cap and/or salary floor represents different percentages to different teams. The disparity becomes more like the New York Yankees and Pirates, and everyone knows what that's doing to baseball.
Without an expanded revenue-sharing agreement among its owners, there likely will be no extension of the CBA. If that does not happen, there will be an uncapped year in 2007.
"The revenue-sharing issue is critical," Rooney said.