Last month, special master Stephen Burbank ruled the NFL would still receive $4 billion in TV contract revenue even in the event of a lockout. On Tuesday, judge David Doty overruled Burbank, finding that those contracts violated the collective bargaining agreement.
A separate hearing will be conducted to find damages for the violation and whether that TV money will be put in escrow, but the short version is this: the National Football League Players Union won this one.
NFL owners can no longer count on billions of dollars coming in whether anybody takes the field or not. This ramps up the pressure somewhat for owners to work with the union as negotiations continue in advance of the March 3 deadline. The players now have a pretty significant piece of leverage in their battle with the owners.
The deal that was found to be a violation called for TV networks to continue to pay for football whether there’s football or not.