I wanted to make sure that a link that got posted in the comments and mentioned in another article did get highlighted on the front page.
In summary, when the Owners signed their last deal with the networks that broadcast NFL games in 2009, it is believed they built the contracts in such a way that they took less money upfront to guarantee that the networks would still pay the owners if there was a lockout and games were missed. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the owners. They called it "lockout insurance." No cost from the players for playing the season and income rolling in from the TV Contracts that drive the NFL money machine. Why would the owners ever end the lockout?
Yesterday, a US District Court Judge David Doty ruled that the Owners would be in breech of contract if they locked the players and would not get access to the $4 billion in TV revenue. It was a reversal of an earlier decision and takes a huge pile of leverage away from the owners. I would bet my house on the fact that the Owners will appeal the ruling so this is far from over.
I am cautiously optimistic at this point. This is good news for any of us that want to see a full football season next year. The owners now have less incentive to lockout the players. If they were going to able to pocket this revenue for awhile (the TV contracts said the money would need to be paid back, but did not give a timetable) they had the means to run their business for the whole season at a massive profit. Lockout is a must when you have a chance to hold a piece of a $4 billion pie. Now, while they may not feel a financial crunch, they won't have that income to stabilize things.
Don't get me wrong, I do think there will be a lockout, but this ruling seems to help push the owners back to the mediation table to try to get this thing worked out. Jeff Saturday, NFLPA Rep, thinks it's a good step too calling it a "good reversal" and a "favorable ruling." NFL Owners are set to meet within themselves today and tomorrow in Virginia. Hopefully there is a light at the end of the Labor Tunnel.