Saturday, March 12, 2011

More union unrest -- this time it's on the gridiron

Yesterday the NFL and its players union broke off talks, the union dissolved itself and the owners locked out the players.  A few observations:
  • The dissolution of the union is a bargaining ploy that will allow 10 players (including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees according to NYT) to sue the NFL for antitrust violations.   Antitrust cases and possible appeals can take 5 to 10 years to be litigated.  I doubt the owners are worried about this. 
  • Today's WSJ says that the average career of an NFL player is 3.5 years.  The players are not likely to support a season-ending strike.  
  • The owners are offering less money and a longer season.  The league is enjoying record-high levels of fan support and revenue.  The players know that better offers will eventually be made. 
Strikes rarely make economic sense because they prevent both sides from enjoying gains from contracting with each other.  Also strikes in the US are quite rare; we are not France or Argentina.  Panthers fans beware -- I bet the regular season starts on schedule.   

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