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NFL Lockout: The Owners Are Their Own Worst Enemy, and the Fans Remain Victims

Earlier we were discussing Roger Goodell discussing the NFL Lockout with Clark Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Chiefs season ticket holders. Goodell slipped on his best politician mouthpiece as he aimed each comment to draw public opinion towards his side while continuing to use the fans as pawns. In the end, he said a bunch of nothing, and to double the scorn of us in the Raider Nation he said it with Chiefs fans. Why did he pick the Chiefs fans? So, the Chiefs owner Clark Hunt could drop sound-bytes like this one:

It's incredibly important for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs that we have a collective bargaining agreement that is good for all 32 clubs. We don't want a system that heads in the direction of baseball. We have some concern that this has the potential to go that way. We want a deal that allows our great game to continue to grow.

Now, this is incredibly valid point. But it is brought up in such vague terms that it can easily be construed as the players are demanding too much money etc....

And that is simply not the case. This is a problem that needs to be addressed among the owners. This is a revenue sharing issue. Sure, teams share all of the money from TV contracts, but they don't share two thirds of the gate receipts, luxury suite revenues, stadium naming rights, sponsorships, concessions, parking fees and any local broadcast revenues. Jump over if you aren't puking already....

Teams like the Cowboys and Patriots are making way more money than teams like the Raiders and Chiefs. They are also driving up the expenses for every team. When there was a salary cap—a salary cap the owners were careful (collusion?) not to obliterate when it wasn't in place—that cap (ceiling and floor) fluctuated based on the total income of all the teams.

The only way the owners would be able to keep their current revenue sharing system and not enter into a MLB type of landscape is to lower or keep the salary cap at levels that allow all teams to compete evenly. A cap that would give players an increasingly less percentage of the total revenue.

This revenue sharing was a source of contention between the owners the last time a new CBA was agreed upon in 2006, and was brought up by Buffalo's Ralph Wilson at the '06 owner's meeting and quoted by the USA Today:

The non-shared revenue is growing and it's got to be addressed, otherwise markets like Buffalo won't be able to compete.

According to that same article:

Right now, about 10 large-market teams, including Dallas, Washington, New England and Philadelphia, are united against exploring ways to distribute the league's overall wealth more equitably to help out the Buffalos, Green Bays and Pittsburghs.

And Ralph Wilson hammers it home for us again:

The league was built on sharing revenues but these big-market clubs just don't want to give up any more.

The reason Jerry Jones gives for not wanting to expand revenue sharing?

Jones said sharing all revenues would eliminate the incentive for small-market teams to find new revenue streams and push their communities for new stadiums.

Where does Jerry Jones think these new revenue streams are going to come from? I'll tell him. It is going to come from the fans. Which brings us back to the conference call in the present day with the commish, Clark Hunt and the Chiefs fans. One fan told Hunt he appreciated the stadium renovations, but not the $22 parking fees. Hunt responded:

We're going through a very difficult time economically. There will be a bump in parking prices this year. It's largely driven by a surcharge that Jackson County is adding to our parking prices which was something that was required in our lease when they were negotiated in 2006.

So yeah, Chiefs season ticket holder—Hunt and his fellow owners are fighting with the players over $9 billion, and the big market teams are making them fend for themselves as they try to price the small guys out of existence, but you are going to have to pay more money to come and support your team, because it is Jackson County's fault. So, be sure to let your voice be heard, and tell the players that they are keeping you from football.

I'm disgusted. I keep hearing people say they are concerned about the health of the league. No they aren't. They are concerned about the health of the league only as far as it pertains to their profits.

I've come to a new conclusion. The NFL should be a non-profit. Then we could get people that are concerned about the game and not their pocketboods. Then we could give this game back to the fans.

It is a privilege to own a team just like it is a privilege to play in the league. I am not against these guys making good salaries, but I am against them running teams that are beloved by millions with the motivation being profit. And most of all I am against them pricing out and stepping all over the fans that made them.