Even if an NFL lockout comes to fruition, the league is set to pocket nearly $4 billion dollars of TV revenue. Because of the way the NFL negotiated its television contracts, preparing for the possibility of the lockout in the process, the league will continue to flow, even if no games played during the 2011 season. The agreement came to light after the NFL Players Association went to court on Tuesday in an effort to get the league to set aside those billions, keeping the money out of the owners' hands.
The end result was a ruling that awarded the players' union millions in damages while allowing the league to keep the billions guaranteed in the event of a lockout. Naturally, each side claimed victory after the decision.
The union, meanwhile, noted in a statement that Burbank awarded it damages because of violations in "the NFL's negotiation of lockout insurance in its contracts with ESPN and NBC." Union spokesman George Atallah said he didn't know the amount the NFL was ordered to pay.
The union was reportedly awarded $6.9 million, a small figure when compared to the money the NFL stands to make in 2011 whether football is played or not.
The players' union's goal, it appears, was to freeze the television revenue money in hopes of gaining a stronger bargaining position. Cutting off the flow of funds should there be a lockout would stop the stream of revenue into the owners' pockets, making it more likely negotiations would accelerate and, perhaps, lessen the chance of a prolonged stalemate.
Keep an eye on all the latest as the NFL and players' union negotiates in our NFL lockout StoryStream.