By now I’m sure most of you have heard something about the potential lockout in the NFL next year. Yes I know our Ravens just won a huge game yesterday and we are already looking into next year, but next year can have some huge implications for businesses around the country.
Thanks to NFL games, many businesses can keep busy during what would typically be a slow time of year. The big deal about the lockout is the NFL Commissioner and executives want a longer season and limiting salaries for rookies, among other things. The NFL Players Association worries that adding two more games will put their health into jeopardy when there are already investigations going on about the safety of the game with the recent concussions. To put it plain and simple, if the two sides cannot come to an agreement, there will be no football in 2011, and many of the experts are saying this is a likely outcome.
Think about all of those commercials you see on TV, all of the hilarious ads during the NFL games and especially during the Super Bowl. No other sport can breed the creative ideas like the Super Bowl does. Last year alone the Super Bowl had 106.5 million viewers. Without a mass audience on TV from NFL games, companies would have to seek other outlets to reach an audience. This may end up costing businesses more money to advertise while producing fewer sales. Also what about the local restaurants and bars? These places would become ghost towns on Sunday afternoons and evenings without the NFL. How about Fantasy Football? Today it is estimated that over 18 million people play fantasy football and it is a $5 billion industry. Whether you are going onto the site to watch your team play or read up on this week’s fantasy football news it sure does bring a lot of traffic to a site on a daily basis. Not to mention majority of the team’s personnel would be without a job. Whether we are talking about the team managers or the water-boy, both could be seeking a new job if there is a lockout. Another issue arises with non-profits and charities. The NFL heavily donates time and money to organizations such as the United Way and the American Cancer Society. Would these charitable donations continue without games being played? Ad Age estimates that without football next year these industries will lose over $12 billion.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on March 1 and unless this agreement is renewed all of the things mentioned above might become an afterthought. Hopefully for each of the industries listed above as well as the entire US viewership, an agreement will be reached before the end of summer.