As I watched football games over the weekend, the potential NFL lockout looms large and I begin to wonder who the real losers would be in the event the owners stiff arm the players next March.
(1) The stadium employees: Are we even considering the impact a lost season could have on the stadium workers that depend on the income derived from these games? Thousands of people employed on Sundays for about 20-22 weeks of the year will feel the pinch of a lockout.
(2) The players: The median (not average) player's salary is $1.1 million and the average length of an NFL career is 3.5 years. For a lot of players, a year's salary forgone is a 25% reduction in lifetime earnings from the NFL. The loss of income is not so problematic if we are talking about individuals with the off the field credentials that would pave the way for a successful post NFL career.
(3) The owners: Do we really feel bad for them having extended the current collective bargaining agreement back in 2006? No, of course not. They are set up to endure a lockout and have the deep pockets through other successful pre-NFL endeavors. Greed is at issue here, although we should give pause to understanding the financial risks involved as the dollars at stake are more than we can fathom.
(4) The fans: No question we would suffer greatly as not only would we be deprived of watching the games in person or from the convenience of our homes via HD television & computers or our smart phones or our local sports bar, but also from making the work week more endurable. Fantasy Football ... gone; ESPN ... what's the point; talking smack to our friends and co-workers ... forget about it.
In what is ultimately a battle of millionaires, the business of the NFL is subsidized heavily (essentially unilaterally) by the common fan. Without our eyeballs, emotions, and disposable income the league would not command the dollars derived from the media conglomerates and corporate sponsors; would not generate the revenue negotiated through licensing; and would not profit from gate receipts and concessions. If we don't consume the game osmotically, then owners and players have no business platform.
As the 2010 NFL season matures and while I watch the Tweeting Triumvirate's first NBA game in late October, I will think more about the game being about the fan and not the players and owners who benefit most from holding our attention. However, trying to mobilize millions of people in conducting our own lockout will never happen in my lifetime. Just imagine how difficult it will be for the thousands of players affected by this labor dispute to remain unified. In the end the owners (i.e., the money, the power, the fame) will win.
Please feel free to comment or connect with me. Thanks.