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NFL Owners Say They Won't Buy Stake in Arena Football League

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  • NFL Owners Say They Won't Buy Stake in Arena Football League

    Mon, 25 Mar 2002, 6:07pm EST
    By Curtis Eichelberger

    Orlando, Florida, March 19 (Bloomberg) -- National Football League owners said they won't exercise their option to become minority partners in the Arena Football League.

    The NFL had negotiated a three-year option in 1999 that allowed it to buy between 24.5 percent and 49.9 percent of the 16- team indoor league before March 31.

    During their annual meetings in Orlando, Florida, NFL owners said they supported individuals buying arena league teams, but were against the league taking an ownership stake. Eight NFL owners have bought arena league franchises.

    ``We couldn't reach a consensus,'' said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. ``It could be revisited, but not at this meeting.''

    Arena Football League Commissioner David Baker wasn't immediately available to comment.

    The decision, which would have required approval from 24 of the NFL's 32 owners, comes less than three weeks after the indoor football league signed a contract to play its games on General Electric's NBC network beginning in 2003.

    If the NFL had exercised its option, it would have shared in the arena league's advertising, sponsorship and merchandising revenue.

    ``A lot of people here think it's a good thing, but I'm not convinced it's football,'' said Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

    NFL Ties

    The NFL still has a close relationship with the arena league, overseeing its officiating department and lending expertise in negotiating marketing agreements.

    The NFL owners who have bought arena league teams are Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, William Clay Ford of the Detroit Lions, Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins, Tom Benson of the New Orleans Saints, Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos, Wayne Weaver of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bud Adams of the Tennessee Titans, and John York and Denise DeBartolo York of the San Francisco *****.

    Orlando Predators Entertainment Inc., the only publicly traded company in the arena league, was down 36 cents to $3.10 a share.

    The arena league plays indoors on a 50-yard field with eight men to a team. It has produced many NFL players, including two- time Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams.

Related Topics


  • r8rh8rmike
    League, Players' Union Agree To 24-Hour Extension In Labor Talks
    by r8rh8rmike
    League, players' union agree to 24-hour extension in labor talks

    By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
    NFL Network Insider
    March 3, 2011

    WASHINGTON -- The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed Thursday to a 24-hour extension of the negotiating window for a new collective bargaining agreement, sources told NFL Network's Kara Henderson.

    Momentum to approve the idea of "stopping the clock" built throughout Thursday as the sides met for over eight hours in front of federal mediator George Cohen.

    The original expiration date for the current CBA had been 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday. Now the union's deadline to possibly decertify is 4 p.m. ET Friday, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer.

    The 24-hour extension could very well lead to a longer extension, according to a league source.

    U.S. District Judge David Doty was in his chambers in Minnesota, prepared to review whatever was put his way. However, Todd Winter, one of Doty's law clerks, said the office wouldn't comment on anything regarding CBA negotiations at this time.

    Doty would have to sign-off on any extension before it becomes valid.

    "We're going to keep working," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday.

    "We're working as hard as we can," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said upon leaving the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services offices Thursday.

    Many members of both negotiating teams remained inside the FMCS offices, according to league sources. The departure of some members has not stopped the dialogue. Multiple people remain and one source said, talks with Cohen "could go late."

    During the one-day extension, teams can still operate under current CBA, according to a league source. Teams can still release players up to the Friday waiver deadline, as well as sign existing free agents or extend player contracts.

    The NFLPA isn't willing to take decertification -- as defined by the rights in the current CBA -- off the table, according to sources, just as the NFL is certain not to rule out the possibility of a lockout.

    A time extension or "stopping the clock" occurred during the 2006 labor negotiations, and a deal ultimately was reached. The NFLPA was prepared to decertify Thursday if no deal or extension was reached.

    If the union eventually decertifies, sources told Breer that quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees would serve as the lead plaintiffs in any potential antitrust lawsuit filed against the league.

    The union has been asking league owners to open their books and reveal more economic data about expenses and revenue. After meeting with Cohen on Wednesday night, a source said, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his negotiating team were in a position where they would be inclined...
    -03-03-2011, 05:27 PM
  • Rambos
    Tagliabue to retire in July
    by Rambos
    Updated: March 20, 2006, 1:56 PM ET
    NFL commissioner Tagliabue to retire in news services

    NEW YORK -- Paul Tagliabue is retiring as NFL commissioner in July after more than 16 years on the job.

    The 65-year-old commissioner has led the league since 1989, when he succeeded Pete Rozelle, and had recently signed a two-year contract extension to complete the television and labor deals.

    He finally got that done 12 days ago, finishing the most arduous labor negotiations since the league and union agreed on a free agency-salary cap deal in 1992.

    "I believe that now is a positive time to make the transition to a new commissioner," Tagliabue said in a statement.

    "We have a collective bargaining extension in place, long-term television contracts, and have undertaken many other strong elements in league and club operations," Tagliabue said. "I am honored to have been commissioner since late 1989 and to have been heavily involved with the league, its owners, clubs, coaches, players, fans and media since 1969."

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on March 9 that Tagliabue was expected to exercise a clause in his contract with league owners in which he becomes a "senior executive" consultant with a significant compensation package. Tagliabue and the NFL did not comment at the time.

    Tagliabue will be available to serve in a senior executive/advisory role through May 31, 2008 once a new commissioner is selected.

    Roger Goodell, the NFL's chief operating officer, and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay are the two leading candidates to succeed Tagliabue. Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass is considered a dark horse.

    Goodell has worked side by side with Tagliabue on numerous issues, ranging from franchise stability, new stadium construction, TV contract negotiations and the most recent collective bargaining agreement, in which he was an active participant.

    Tagliabue has said he wants to avoid the kind of seven-month deadlock that occurred between him and the late Jim Finks after Rozelle stepped down in March 1989.

    Tagliabue called Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney, the NFL's senior owner, early Monday to tell him of the decision.

    "We've got the best labor deal in sports. We've got the best league. He's been our leader. The whole way he's done this has been wonderful," Rooney told The Associated Press.

    The announcement was made officially in an e-mail to the other owners at noon ET.

    Tagliabue will stay on with the NFL as a senior executive and a consultant through 2008, part of the contract extension he signed last July.

    Tagliabue's term will be remembered most for labor peace following strikes in 1982 and 1987. His close relationship with Gene Upshaw, the union's executive...
    -03-20-2006, 12:51 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Tagliabue confident owners will OK Arena game in May
    by DJRamFan
    By David Elfin

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Paul Tagliabue remains a firm believer in his powers of persuasion.
    In his news conference wrapping up the NFL's spring meetings, and one day after league owners opted not to exercise their option to purchase between 25 and 49.9 percent of Arena Football, Tagliabue said he believed they would vote in favor of the idea at the May meeting in Houston.
    The commissioner also said that he thinks the opposition of Fox and CBS to the league's proposal giving ABC greater scheduling flexibility for the final four weeks of "Monday Night Football" can be overcome. And Tagliabue is convinced that Los Angeles is still prime NFL territory more than seven years after the Rams and Raiders left the nation's second-largest market to little fan disappointment.
    "There are quite a few people in support of taking the 25 percent equity investment position and others who have reservations about how it fits into the NFL," Tagliabue said. "But everyone sees NBC's contract with the Arena League as a positive."
    That's also how Tagliabue sees the possible late-season television switches in light of the unpredictable nature of the league that turns supposed cellar-dwellers into contenders each season, making some scheduled national games duds.
    "We don't see why there's not a more intelligent way of doing things that serves the fans," Tagliabue said. "I've found that a lot of people come to discussions close-minded and become open-minded when it's a win-win and especially when it's part and parcel of schedule flexibility for the Sunday networks."
    In response to a question about fan interest in Los Angeles, Tagliabue cited the city's long pro and college football history and snapped, "At a certain point in life, you don't need evidence of the sun and the moon to know that they're there."
    Tagliabue, while still promoting his idea of Super Bowls in New York and Washington, said that the NFL has promised Arizona another Super Bowl if the Cardinals ever get a new stadium built and added that Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, Houston, Detroit and Jacksonville are all interested in playing host to the game.
    New York Giants owner Bob Tisch, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Redskins owner Dan Snyder have all asked to make presentations on behalf of their cities at an upcoming NFL meeting. However, the owners might not award the next available games — 2007 and 2008 — until next spring in Arizona.
    With the league back to an even number of teams after four years with 31, Tagliabue said there won't be any byes during the first two weeks or during the last seven. The NFL also named Michael Haynes, a Hall of Fame cornerback with New England and the Los Angeles Raiders, as its vice president of player and employee development. Haynes' main task...
    -03-25-2002, 04:06 PM
  • MauiRam
    NFL teams prepping for lockout ..
    by MauiRam
    By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer Sep 17, 6:11 pm EDT

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Players for four NFL teams have already taken a key step in their looming fight with the league over pay—a fight that may include a lockout next year.

    Carl Francis, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association, confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday that Indianapolis, Dallas, New Orleans and Philadelphia have all voted unanimously to decertify the union. He said union leaders were still collecting voting cards from other teams.

    Decertification would strip the union of its collective bargaining rights on behalf of the players, so the move might seem counter-intuitive. But since antitrust laws exempt NFL owners from being sued by unions that are negotiating CBAs, decertification would in essence eliminate the union and allow players to sue the NFL in the event of a lockout—giving them potential leverage in their dispute with the owners.

    Colts center Jeff Saturday(notes) said the Indy vote took place Wednesday and that he expects the other 31 teams to do the same thing—unanimously.

    “When it’s explained why you’re doing it, I don’t think anyone would vote against it,” he said.

    League officials declined to comment.

    No immediate action is expected by the NFLPA, but voting now will help the union avoid the logistical nightmare of tracking down players for voting cards and signatures during the offseason. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the union expires in March.

    Players have been told that if the union does not decertify before the CBA ends, the NFLPA would have to wait six months to sue the league.

    NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is expected to meet with each team over the next few weeks. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also answered questions from Colts players during a training camp meeting last month.

    It’s not the first time this has happened.

    The NFLPA was decertified in 1989, two years after a failed players’ strike. It returned as a union in 1993, when a contract was reached with the league that provided for free agency. That landmark CBA was renewed or restructured several times since 1993, including in 2006. The owners opted out of that deal two years ago.

    The players currently get 59.6 percent of designated NFL revenues, a number agreed to in the 2006 CBA. The owners say that’s too much, arguing that they have huge debts for building stadiums and starting up the NFL Network and other ventures, making it impossible to be profitable.

    The NFL generates nearly $8 billion in revenues annually, with about $1 billion going to operating expenses. The owners get about 40 percent of the rest, but they want about $1.3 billion more before the players get their cut, and they’d like two more regular-season games to get more...
    -09-18-2010, 03:58 PM
  • RamWraith
    Roger most likely to succeed Tags
    by RamWraith
    Pretty Goodell shot


    Roger Goodell is positioned to pull off a wire-to-wire victory in the NFL Commissioner Derby, but will have to withstand a challenge from at least one high-powered corporate CEO when owners vote Aug. 7-9 in Chicago on Paul Tagliabue's successor.

    There are 15 candidates still on the list, but after an owners meeting next Monday in Detroit, the eight-member search committee, which includes Woody Johnson of the Jets, is expected to narrow it to three or four finalists and bring them to Chicago for the owners to interview and then vote on. It will take 22 out of 32 votes to send Tagliabue into retirement.

    Last week, the search committee held a conference call with the owners. The owners were informed there were three candidates from the league's Park Avenue office: Goodell, the executive VP/chief operating officer and second on the NFL executive depth chart; Jeff Pash, the executive VP/chief administrative officer-counsel who helped get the Maurice Clarett decision reversed; and Eric Grubman, the executive VP of finance and strategic decisions who was the point man in the sale of the Jets when he worked for Goldman Sachs.

    Falcons president and GM Rich McKay and Ravens president Dick Cass are club executives who have been under consideration. But Goodell's main competition is expected to come from outside the league.

    Goodell, involved in all important NFL decisions, is the clear favorite among the candidates currently working in the league, one owner said. But the committee has kept the names of candidates from the corporate world a secret from the owners because those people don't want their names released at this stage of the process.

    "I still think Roger Goodell has the inside track, but it's hard to make a truly accurate assessment without knowing who the other candidates are," one owner said yesterday. "They can present us with outstanding candidates, which could throw this in a state of flux. My gut is Roger will be a finalist in Chicago and there will be at least one outside candidate. But they've given us no names."

    There has been a theory the 32 owners would not trust an outsider to come in and run their $6 billion a year business and that Goodell gives the league the best chance to make a seamless transition during a very profitable time. "Roger is highly regarded," one owner said.

    Still, there are enough out-of-the-box thinkers in the ownership group who could create support for bringing in an outsider.

    There is optimism the Chicago meeting will produce a new commissioner. But it took 23 ballots to get Pete Rozelle elected in 1960 and 12 ballots and three meetings over a three-month period for Tagliabue to get the votes to succeed Rozelle in 1989.

    Goodell has been the...
    -07-18-2006, 02:38 PM