The NFL's work stoppage may end up being good for both owners and players. The former get to save their money and the latter get to save their brains. Unfortunately, the strike's economic impact will be felt far beyond the Goliaths of the Gridiron and the exceptionally rich people who pay them.
How big will that impact be? No one really knows, but that doesn't stop everyone from offering an answer.
Pay cuts for the peons
Some losses are easy to calculate. Case in point: The Miami Dolphins just ordered pay cuts for the team's front-office staff. People earning more than $75,000 will lose 20 percent. For those who make less than that but more than $50,000, the cut is 15 percent, and for the peons who don't even make 50 grand, it's only 10 percent. Graduated salary cuts? Holy creeping socialism, Batman!
It's difficult to say exactly how much this will save team owner Stephen Ross, but given that Forbes says he's worth $3.4 billion, at most it's a rounding error.
We also know that the strike will cost NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at least $7,999,999, as he's cut his salary to $1 for the duration. These are tough times in the Goodell household. Two years ago the commish took a 20 percent pay cut -- down to $8 million -- because of the "reeling" economy. Hope he socked away enough of that to make it through the lean times. If not, there are always food stamps.
Save the child (support)
If you cared to look up the court records there is another loss that could easily be calculated: The amount of child support not being paid to the offspring of New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie, who has nine children from eight women according to the New York Post, is just one of many NFL players already trying to get alimony and child support payments reduced because of the labor dispute.
Once you widen the search past the immediate circle of NFL employees and relatives the numbers get a lot murkier. Here are a selection of estimates:
- $0 -- Effect on taxable sales from the sudden absence of professional sports due to strikes and lockouts, according to three economics professors.
- $3.5 million -- Amount the city San Francisco says it will lose from the closure of Candlestick Park.
- $3.8 million -- Amount Maryland will lose in revenues because of ticket sales, according to one newspaper.
- $6 million -- Economic impact of a single NFL game, according to the University of Minnesota.
- $7.4 million -- Amount generated for Green Bay by the Packer's month-long training camp, according to Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
- $7.5 million -- Estimated revenues lost by Electronic Arts due to decreased demand for the game NFL Madden 12, according to an analyst.
- $14 million -- Annual direct taxes generated by the New England Patriots, according to the Patriots.
- $16 million -- Annual economic impact of an NFL franchise, according to Robert Baade, one of the three economics professors of the previously cited study. (Economists. Bah.)
- $64 million -- Annual economic activity generated by the San Francisco 49ers, according to the city of Santa Clara, Calif.
- $160 million -- Amount of economic activity each NFL host area will lose in the event of a year long strike, according to a study by the NFL Players Association.
- $3 billion -- Amount of gross national TV advertising dollars "at risk" from an NFL strike, according to a Nomura study.
The $160 million estimate by the NFLPA has come under heavy criticism. Greg Aiello, the NFL's communications director, called the numbers "fairy tales." His is opinion is probably correct, and that's definitely worth noting for one simple reason: The sources used in the study were the reports produced to justify public funding for professional football stadiums.
Yes, the NFL has just denounced its own arguments for bilking taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. If nothing else comes out of the strike, ending that charade would be a huge economic gain.
Photo by Jennifer Marr