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Big Money Talks in NFL Offseason

February 16, 2021
Rams lawsuit

This past year, the NFL got its first half-billion-dollar player contract with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. We also know that even without fans in the stands, the league made billions.

Even the dreaded salary cap retraction that so many people feared for 2021 is expected to be less painful than first predicted.

The league runs on money, and money is in the spotlight as the unofficial season begins in February (The official new league year begins on March 17).

Television Rights

The reason each team has roughly $180 million to spend in 2021 on player salaries is that the television numbers for the NFL remain strong. It is true that the numbers were down a bit for the Super Bowl.

But during the pandemic, all prime-time programming has dropped, and the NBA Finals saw a massive 50% drop in ratings even with the Lakers and LeBron James being involved.

The NFL isn’t worried, and apparently, neither are the television networks. Reportedly a new television rights deal could be worked out in the next month that will come in the form of 10-year contracts.

If a deal is done now, before the new league year begins, it could help out a lot of teams who are up against the $18 million salary cap reduction.

Word is that the networks involved won’t change. FOX and CBS will remain the Sunday afternoon sources for NFL broadcasts, and NBC will have Sunday night games.

ESPN and ABC will still have Monday Night Football, but with a little more freedom in flexibility so that we’re not stuck with a pair of below-.500 NFC East teams in late December again.

Thursday night games are staying, but there may become more streaming options for those particular broadcasts. No word on DirecTV’s current monopoly on out-of-market games, which some thought might be changing.

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St. Louis Sues Rams

The city of St. Louis believes that the Rams’ relocation back to Los Angeles more than five years ago is worth more than $1 billion. The lawsuit has been going on for some time, with the city of St. Louis, the county of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority all acting as plaintiffs. But recently, we’ve seen the details of the alleged damages.

Chief among them is team value. The Rams were in Super Bowl LIII, and they have a brand new beautiful stadium. According to online bookmakers, they are +600 odds to reach Super Bowl LVI, and the value of the franchise has skyrocketed, even though the team had its greatest success by winning Super Bowl XXXIV while in St. Louis.

The city also alleges that the NFL violated its own relocation rules by encouraging St. Louis to fight for the Rams, which cost the city money. The enhancement of the value of all NFL franchises by having a team in Los Angeles also proves that the NFL, while leading St. Louis on, was behind the scenes encouraging the Rams to move.

The NFL has attempted to move the case to arbitration, but as of now, it remains in civil court.

 

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