Where will the Raiders fit into the NFL hierarchy when the NFL and NFLPA agree upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement? What kinds of changes could impact the Raiders going forward?
We just don’t know how a new CBA is going to change the game of football. First owners must agree on the structure of the revenue split. Once the owners make up their mind, they can fight more vigorously with the NFLPA on how to share the pot of gold. This isn’t just players versus owners. Small market owners have long been battling with the large market owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Synder.
The NFL and NFLPA have already started wrangling in court and in the media, but how much wrangling are the owners doing behind closed doors? The NFL is obviously trying to present a unified front, but the owners are hardly in unanimous agreement.
What is clear is that parity may be on the way out.
Rumors are swirling that an NFL team can avoid local blackouts by paying the opposing team’s portion of unsold tickets. They refer to this as “gate sharing.” 40% of the home teams ticket sales go to the opponent. By purchasing those unsold tickets teams can avoid a local blackout. The Jets have stated they will do just that to avoid local blackouts.
It is interesting that no other owners that we know of have opted to keep their teams on television using this loophole.
Well known is the Raiders’ struggle with the NFL blackout rule. Last season, the Raiders narrowly sold out its home opener and most of the games actual attendance was between 50-75%.
This “gate sharing” is part of revenue sharing between NFL teams. Owners like Jerry Jones would love to see this sharing abolished as he can make significantly more money on 100% of his stadium than he can making 40% of games he plays in Oakland or Jacksonville.
This revenue sharing and maybe even how the TV money is distributed is something the owners need to settle on before the NFLPA can even attempt to get a piece of the pie from the owners.
What does this all mean? Potentially, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
The small market teams, teams unable to attract lucrative sponsors, teams with fewer luxury boxes and club seats could be relegated to the bottom of the NFL in revenue.
Everything is on the line for the Raiders in 2010. The Raiders need to find a way to avoid blackouts, sell more tickets and get the once vibrant fan base rejuvenated. For the Raiders, more wins almost always equal more attendance. Unfortunately, Raider Nation doesn’t pay to see a bad team play like the fans across town.
No matter what shape the CBA takes, a stadium deal for the Raiders is also very important.
Without the stadium revenue stream and consistent sellouts, the Raiders will simply not have the resources to be a good football team in what is likely to be a less favorable NFL model for lower revenue teams.
Climbing out of the basement will be harder, which is why the 2010 season is extremely important for the health of the Raiders franchise.
The CBA could allot more funds to the NFL stadium fund or abolish the fund and leave the Raiders to die in crumbling concrete shell.
Sharing a stadium with the cross town rival probably doesn’t sound too bad about now. Fans need to be logical about a shared stadium. If the bay area intends to keep both teams, playing 16 games at a stadium instead of eight makes it more economically feasible for the government to kick in millions of dollars for construction, development and real estate.
If the 2010 offseason is any guide, Al Davis is ready to draft and manage a little smarter and doing so will be the only way out of this mess if the CBA is unfavorable to a team like the Raiders.
It is possible the NFL continues some kind of revenue sharing, but will they continue to fund stadiums since many NFL teams have already secured a new home?
There are plenty of variables involved, but one would hope that the NFL doesn’t destroy a great sport by destroying revenue sharing and writing NFL rules like the IRS writes the tax code.