FLOWERY BRANCH – The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) today wrote a letter to Governor Sonny Perdue, Governor-elect Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed to warn that Atlanta could see more than $160 million in lost jobs and revenue if the owners forego negotiating in good faith and opt to cancel the 2011 football season.
There are 100 days left until the expiration of the agreement that determines how NFL revenue is distributed.
In the letters, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said the players want to keep playing and are happy to keep the current agreement in place, but warned that the owners are taking steps to cancel the 2011 season.
The NFLPA asked Perdue, Deal and Reed to consider the economic impact of a 2011 lockout by the owners and to stress to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank the importance of engaging in good faith negotiations with the NFLPA.
“During one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, NFL owners are preparing to cancel the 2011 season and, in the process, devastate Atlanta businesses and stadium workers who count on football Sundays to make ends meet,” Mawae said. “It is our hope that the owners will shelve this plan and negotiate in good faith to ensure that we are playing for the fans in 2011.”
Although the players have agreed to move forward with the current agreement, the NFL owners appear to be taking steps to lock out the players and fans when the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 4. The owners have secured nearly $4 billion in guaranteed television network payments even if they lock out the players and games are not played in the 2011-12 season. Owners will continue to thrive financially at the expense of serious job losses in Atlanta and major lost tax revenue, according to the NFLPA.
Despite the worst economic conditions in generations, professional football has continued to generate billions of dollars in income to thousands of workers at the Georgia Dome and the surrounding communities who rely upon this business to support their families. In the last fifteen years, NFL team values have increased more than 500 percent. Today, teams are worth on average about $1 billion and have enjoyed uninterrupted financial gains since the 1960s.
Though the economic benefits of professional football are clear, NFL owners chose to opt out early from the current CBA while refusing to provide detailed financial information to the players to justify the owners’ position that the current CBA is “not working” for them.