July 22, 2024

Sunday Ticket verdict could expedite push for 18 games


It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that the NFL wants to expand the regular season to 18 games. It also doesn’t require psychic powers to know that the league needs to be ready to potentially write a check for $14.088 billion (plus prejudgment interest, post-judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees) after all appeals are exhausted.

Put the two together, and the league could build a worst-case war chest between now and whenever the Supreme Court either declines to take the case or finds against the NFL. (If the Supreme Court does indeed take the case, it likely will find for the league — especially if Clarence Thomas can be counted on to earn his free Super Bowl ring.)

It will take roughly three years to get there, maybe four. In the interim, why not accelerate the inevitable?

Nothing prevents the NFL and the NFL Players Association from agreeing to new terms, whenever they want. The CBA is a living, breathing document that doesn’t have to expire before it is replaced. (From 1993 through 2011, it was always extended a year or more before its term ended.)

Although the players won’t have to pay any of the $14.088 billion, changes to Sunday Ticket could impact revenue, either by reducing the value of the package or impacting the payments received from the Sunday afternoon broadcast deals.

One way to ensure that the rising tide lifts all boats is by adding games and windows. One extra game and one extra bye becomes 20 weekends of regular-season football. As previously explained, the NFL would have to be willing to re-take Labor Day weekend in order to have the Super Bowl land on Presidents’ Day weekend.

Which would be fine, because it would lead to more. Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night to start the season. Max out the money, in order to make up the $14.088 billion.

With 18 games and a new five-night season-kickoff extravaganza, the NFL could go to the networks and re-do the TV deals, too.

Then, if the NFL eventually wins the Sunday Ticket case in the Supreme Court, all that new money would be gravy.

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered? If the NFL makes the right moves while the Sunday Ticket case moves forward, the hogs will keep doing the slaughtering.





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