NFL Negotiations 101

Casey Gerald and David Madland explain the NFL player-owner labor contract dispute—what issues are at stake and what will happen if there’s no agreement.

Read the full memo (CAP)

What are the issues in the contract dispute between the owners and players?

The primary issue is how to divide up the money the league generates. Players currently receive 59 percent of all league revenue, and owners get the rest.

Owners argue that 59 percent of total revenues is too much and say they need a greater share to help the league grow. “Clubs must spend significant and growing amounts on stadium construction, operations, and improvements to respond to the interests and demands of our fans,” the owners wrote on the league website. “As a result, under the terms of the current agreement, the clubs’ incentive to invest in the game is threatened.”

NFL players note that the league and its owners have prospered immensely under the current labor contract. As the NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith argues, “We do know the NFL generated in excess of $8 billion last year. We know that the average team has grown by 400 percent in 10 years. What we don’t understand is what is wrong with the current deal when those facts exist.”

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David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project