NFL Announces New Revenue-Sharing Plan, Schumer Involved

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has issued a memo outlining the league’s new revenue sharing plan aimed at ensuring small-market franchises like the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers remain competitive.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Goodell distributed the memo to the league’s 32 teams Monday. Aiello noted the memo is significant because it formally establishes the revenue-sharing program in writing. The league already shares certain revenues, but this new system would allow small-market teams to draw money from what’s called a supplemental pool funded mostly by top revenue-generating clubs.

Until the actual plan is announced, I’ll not get too excited one way or the other. On balance though, even though I’m a free market guy and a fan of one of a team (the Dallas Cowboys) that would benefit from a free-for-all system, I’m generally in favor of the NFL’s sharing of television, merchandising, and other revenues to ensure competitive balance.

What puzzles me about the story, however, is that the United States Senate is getting involved.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer has joined [Buffalo Bills owner Ralph] Wilson in his campaign and spent the past six months pressuring the NFL to implement a fair revenue-sharing program. Schumer, who shared the podium with Wilson during Tuesday’s news conference, referred to Goodell’s memo as progress.

“When the new CBA came into effect, we were really worried that either revenue sharing would go by the boards or it would be done in such a half-baked way that small-market teams couldn’t survive,” Schumer said. “The commissioner, in his statements yesterday and the initial readings we get, understands … there needs to be real revenue sharing and not just crumbs.”

Schumer announced plans to form a coalition of fellow senators, representing small-market NFL teams, to ensure their franchises remain viable.

How, exactly, is this a job for the Congress? Granting that the NFL is engaged in a form of interstate commerce, it’s rather difficult to argue that how its internal revenues are distributed has any serious national implications. And the NFL’s system is a hell of a lot more small market friendly than that of Major League Baseball.

Indeed, Shumer should investigate the New York Yankees and New York Mets, which are outspending virtually every team in the Majors by a factor of 3 to 1. Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] NFL Announces New Revenue-Sharing Plan, Schumer Involved […]

  2. Triumph says:

    How, exactly, is this a job for the Congress? Granting that the NFL is engaged in a form of interstate commerce, it’s rather difficult to argue that how its internal revenues are distributed has any serious national implications.

    What was the rationale for Bush to push Congress during his State of the Union to do something about steroid use in pro baseball?

    You had idiots like Republican Congressman Tom Davis claiming that pro baseball steroid use is “a national health crisis”!?!?! What planet are these people on??? [That includes Chuck]

  3. James Joyner says:

    Triumph:

    I took the same position on the steroid issue, although a better case can certainly be made there. There’s not much question that high school and college athletes emulate the behavior of the pros. That’s especially true for poor kids from urban areas, a ridiculous percentage of whom think they will one day be professional athletes.

  4. jpe says:

    If a congressperson could take some kind of credit for keeping the local sports team, they’d be guaranteed reelection in perpetuity.