Audit: NFL Owners Using Misleading Revenue Figures


It turns out that the National football league has been using misleading and incomplete financial information to convince team owners that NFL players are getting paid too much. Throughout contract talks with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the League and the owners kept saying the players received 70 percent of new revenues in salaries.  

But now, Howard Fendrich, the Associated Press’ pro football writer, reveals that the players’ actual share was only about 53 percent from 2006-09, according to calculations by the accounting firm that audited the collective bargaining agreement for both sides. Read Fendrich’s article here.

Frendrich reports the owners use an accounting sleight of hand to come up with that 70 percent figure. Before they even start counting where the money goes, they take $1 billion off the top for things such as stadium improvements or the NFL Network. In other words, the owners put $1 billion in their pockets before they give the players a penny and then ask the players to give back another $1 billion in pay cuts.   

According to a 2010 audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, about $3.8 billion of the $7.2 billion in new  revenue from 2006 –2009,  or  52.9 percent went toward players’ salaries and benefits.

“The NFL wants to artificially inflate the percentage of incremental revenue going to players by excluding revenues that never go to players,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told AP.

League officials … have been selling a lockout to owners based on misleading and incomplete financial information. They excluded the cost credits to be able to tell owners that player costs are rising faster than all revenues. This is not true.

Owners locked out the players on March 12, creating the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987. That came hours after the NFLPA renounced its status as a union, allowing players to file a class-action antitrust lawsuit in federal court.


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