NFL to lose a reported $1 billion if the preseason is canceled

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does a television interview before the 2011 NFL football Draft in New York, April 28, 2011. REUTERS/MIke Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Back in January a friend of mine asked me if I thought the entire 2011 NFL season would be wiped out because of the labor dispute. My response to him was simple:

“Nobody is that stupid to leave that much money on the table.”

I’ll admit that after months of bickering, lawsuits and plenty false hope, my opinion has changed a little. I still don’t think the 2011 season will be lost for good but it doesn’t seem like the two sides are any closer to settling this labor fight then when the owners locked the players out back in March.

But there’s one fear that can end this dispute in the blink of an eye and it’s something I touched on when I responded to my friend’s question six months ago: The fear of losing money.

The NFL Network’s Albert Breer just wrote a solid piece about how the time for both sides to negotiate is now. That’s because keeping the lockout in place past August 1 will cost the NFL $350 million according to Breer. That number would escalate to $1 billion if the league cancels the preseason.

Nobody wants to lose money and as Breer points out, the two sides are now entering a crucial 30-day window. The owners and players can talk about what’s fair and unjust all they want but when you start throwing around real number losses, that’s when things start to get interesting. That’s when the true panic will set in and maybe then and only then will both sides finally start to get serious.

I don’t pretend to know even a fraction about what’s going on with the lockout. Labor disputes are nasty business and I feel like I should have a law degree to talk about what’s going on in the courts. But I’m old enough to know the effect money can have on our society and I know nobody likes pissing it away. If Breer’s numbers are correct, then I wouldn’t be surprised if a new CBA deal is done by the first of August.

But maybe that’s just more false hope creeping in.

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