I wrote my plea for the NFL to change the Blackout rule, because it’s robbing the fans of seeing the home teams play, and further detaches the fair weather fans and people that happen to move to a new area that features a franchise. The NFL is holding it’s cards close as they insist they aren’t in bad shape financially, and are recession proof. A report from Forbes came out today that showed the NFL was telling a half truth, as they are okay, but the future is fairly uncertain. Their $1 billion in equity plus debt average among the teams has not changed. The bad part of the report was that eight franchises declined in value for the first time in 10 years! Not surprisingly my Raiders were the worst on the list decreasing 7% from last season, and as of now the Lions are even worth more than them. There were good playoff teams on the list that declined as well including the Colts(-5%), Dolphins(-3%), and Falcons (-2%). The factors that the findings were derived from were; the decline in people who could afford to purchase or invest a franchise, lowered revenues and lower revenue expectations, and the tightened credit markets.
The all powerful NFL isn’t too worried that a quarter of their franchises that have dropped in value as they get huge revenues in the $7 ½ billion range for all their assets. Their TV deals with ESPN, NBC, CBS, FOX, and Sunday Ticket on DirecTV alone give teams a whopping $116 million per year. Facing obvious challenges in the near future the NFL extended their TV contracts recently for two more years through 2013. The drawback to the agreement was that there was a very low 2% increase per season. The real problem for the NFL looks to be the new collective bargaining agreement that was supposed to go through 2012, but the owners voted unanimously to opt out at the conclusion of the 2010 season. Many owners have complained that they’ve had to spend over half their revenues to pay the players, and when there are jackass’s like Michael Crabtree out there squabbling over his contract it all becomes clear why their gripes are justified. Who knows by the time Crabtree gets a contract there could be a lockout, one more bad reason for players to holdout. I still can’t fathom how players are worth millions before they take one snap as a pro. Next year for the first time since 1993, the NFL will play without a salary cap. This sounds like an instant lockout by the owners, if this is allowed to happen. I doubt too many owners will be thrilled to compete for players against teams that turn the most profit like the Redskins ($90 million), Patriots ($70 million), and Buccaneers ($68 million). I guess Tampa might fall off this list as they are due to be one of the teams this season that could not sell a home game out, and fall under the retarded blackout rule. They once had a 100,000 person waiting list to get season tickets, but those days are long gone as they hope to fill up the stadium for eight weeks out of the year.
We will see what happens, but you can bet that the NFL isn’t ready for what is coming. I have a feeling that they are under estimating their worst case scenario, and shouldn’t be telling the public that everything is all good and happy times. Goodell is good at doing the PR through as his sleazy car salesman act has fooled me from time to time. I hope it doesn’t stoop to the NBA’s depths, which I wrote about a couple months back. If teams are close to bankruptcy, and are having to borrow money I’ll be the first to say I told you so. I know with the recession comes cutbacks by everyone feeling the wrath of the mighty economy, and that translates to a lot more empty seats, which keeps snowballing as a lot less concessions are being bought. I’m sure that in these unforgiving times less people are willing to pony up the money for that ridiculous DirecTV Sunday Ticket package. If people can’t afford tickets, then we can’t even watch our favorite teams on TV from the blackouts. Looks like we’ll have to suffer as we watch the Giants, Jets, Patriots, Redskins, and Cowboys during our blacked out games. I’m already depressed thinking about having to watch Romo and Eli more than they were regularly scheduled!