DANA POINT, Calif. -- In securing an incredible rights fee from DirecTV to air games on satellite TV -- $1 billion per year from 2011 through 2014 -- the league got something far more valuable than money alone. The NFL got
Even if games are not played in 2011, the NFL's deal with DirecTV calls for the league to be paid the billion-dollar rights fee, a source close to the talks told SI.com here at the league meetings.
That certainly won't drive the league away from the bargaining table with new NFL Players Association executive director
The league's current deal with DirecTV runs through the 2010 season. By announcing the new satellite deal so far in advance of its effective date, and by quietly publicizing that the rights fees in a bad economy have grown from $700 million a year to $1 billion, the NFL is showing the players that it has a war chest and won't be pressured into making a deal it doesn't want just for the sake of avoiding a work stoppage in 2011.
This will be a huge factor in the looming negotiations, one that clearly will make the league not as desperate to resolve a simmering dispute with the players that began when owners opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement last year.
The NFL will have uninterrupted business as usual through the 2011 draft, 25 months from now. The next two seasons -- one with a salary cap this year, and one without a cap in 2010 -- will be held whether a new deal is struck or not. But without a new labor contract, the league presumably would lock the players out of training camp in 2011.
At these meetings, commissioner
DirecTV airs all Sunday afternoon games exclusively on satellite on its NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Now for your e-mail:
Which contest would you say is more inequitable, Ross? One team getting one possession and the other getting none, or one team getting 13 possessions and the other team getting 12?
The problem is that players don't want to add a full quarter to the season, which, as I
I actually like that. Eliminate the capricious coin flip in favor of something that would demonstrate one team's superiority over the other.
You make a good point. The NFL wants to blaze trails, but I suspect it also wants to put its hands in the pockets of fans in Europe, too. It's no different from other businesses. Once you accept the fact that this is a business more than it's a sport, then you'll understand the fascination and the drive of NFL owners to continue to grow the game into other areas of the world.
I'm sure Arizona GM
It has to change, and change drastically. I see a superb beat reporter,
It's $179 a night. And you don't think it's, well, a bit lacking that a hotel charging $179 a night doesn't have coffee available in the lobby or the restaurant or anywhere at 6:17 in the morning?
Good luck. What a horrendous fate.
Next Monday, I'll let you know.
Let us pray.