Just to re-cap and fill in some of the details from the NFL owners spring meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale:
+ South Florida lost out to New Orleans – which was the favorite – to land the 2013 Super Bowl. South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee officials, who are preparing for the 2010 game and the Pro Bowl, are already planning to bid for the 2014 game. Typically bid packages go out in November and owners vote in the spring.
+ The league and the players association are to begin discussions for a new players’ contract next month, but NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash says he has no time frame for how long negotiations should take. The league opted out of the last two years of the current agreement meaning the deal ends in 2011 and the 2010 season will be played without a salary cap. Some owners believe the agreement, which guarantees roughly 60 percent of football revenues go to player salaries, isn’t working. NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who met with owners at their meeting Tuesday, said he isn’t sure why owners feel that way.
“We all know that the players didn't opt out of this deal. We do know that the NFL generated in excess of $8 billion last year. We know that the average team has grown by 400 percent in 10 years. We know that the average team is worth in excess of a billion dollars,” Smith said. “What we don't understand is what is wrong with the current deal when we know those facts exist? And if you want to move or start negotiations it seems to me that we need to understand why they believe that the current deal wasn't good.”
+ Owners didn’t vote on whether to extend the regular season to 17 or 18 games, but they discussed the issue. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised the players and partners would be brought in on discussions. Smith said the key to discussions is determining the average each team makes per game and considering why players’ salaries drop for playoff games.
“The players understand the cost to their bodies. The players understand how tough it is to get through a regular season,” Smith said. “They understand the cost. What they don't understand is when their playoff salary drops to $20,000 a game, what's the net profit for the team for that game? And once they understand that, then we can understand or at least be in a process to discuss what the right cost compensation model is for an extra game.”
+ The league reached agreement with Comcast to expand the number of homes that can view the NFL Network from 2 million to 10.8 million by moving the network from a higher pay tier to Comcast’s Digital Classic service. The league also reached agreements with CBS and Fox to extend their rights to broadcast NFL games by two years until at least 2013. Goodell said conversations are also taking place with NBC about an extension.
+ Owners voted Tuesday to allow teams to forge partnerships with their local and state lotteries to generate revenue. Team logos could appear on lottery tickets – as they do in other leagues (see Red Sox example at left) – but only for scratch-off or chance games. “It would not be based on the outcome of games,” Goodell said. “That’s a critical feature for us. We do think it’s responsive to pressures states are feeling right now to help meet some of those shortfalls, what we can do with states and our clubs, to be able to try to create some additional revenue, and I think it has been effective in other sports." The New England Patriots have already jumped aboard with the Massachusetts State Lottery.
+ Owners discussed possibly expanding the Rooney Rule, which requires teams interview at least one minority candidate for coaching positions, to include general managers.