It’s the offseason, but don’t confuse that with a break. The annual meeting is in five weeks and NFL business leaders have little rest.
The Rams are world champions and co-hosts of an undeniably successful Super Bowl LVI. But there still remains the question of who should cover the $790 million legal bill at their rejected St. Louis home.
But there’s still that $790 million bill to pay at their rejected St. Louis home, and the possible division of responsibilities is a major unsettled topic in NFL circles — one that could reopen old wounds. and quarrels.
For many owners, it’s an open and closed affair. They say Rams owner Stan Kroenke has agreed to compensate the others, and it’s as simple as that – any move that will spark an intense outcry. But Kroenke’s team will argue that the surprising turn against the NFL in Missouri courts was not his fault, and that there is a business case that an “amicable” resolution to this issue would serve the greater good.
This issue will be discussed at league meetings in March, but is unlikely to be resolved. Some team leaders are pushing for a quick resolution, one way or another, for budgeting purposes. They need to know if their national income, or reduced relocation expense payments, or other funds will be moored (the NFL paid the bill in December; the question is about reimbursement). So far, there has been no league guidance to teams on how they have shared the pain of concussion litigation, sources said.
The Super Bowl results give Kroenke a “halo” ahead of this fight, an insider said. Last week showed how much the NFL would gain by having a premier stadium and two franchises in Los Angeles, a strategy that was executed largely with Kroenke’s money. But we’ll see if that has much to do with the legal compensation argument.
It would clearly be desirable for the NFL to have another primary owner who is a member of a minority group (specifically, Black). But the league is limited in how far it can go to steer that outcome. NFL ownership rules, the Pat Bowlen Trust’s fiduciary duty to the family, and basic principles of mergers and acquisitions impose high safeguards on the process. One possibility is a waiver.
The question was raised several times last week in Los Angeles after news broke that media mogul Byron Allen was planning to bid. It’s good communication amid Brian Flores’ trial, but by all published accounts, Allen is nowhere near the net worth needed to lead a bid (Bloomberg shed some additional light on his plans last week). The rules limit debt to $1 billion and require the general partner to own at least 30% of the equity.
But could those rules be changed in time for a Broncos sale? Diversity would not be the only reason to do so. Experts have long argued that the NFL’s conservative rules limit the size of the pool of possible buyers, to the detriment of valuations everywhere. If you relax the rules, you get more bidders and a more diverse pool.
But that process would likely take longer than selling the Broncos. The sale of the Panthers in 2018 raised concerns over restrictive rules, which ultimately led to debt expansion allowing a team to be acquired for up to $1 billion. But that rule changed long after David Tepper closed the deal.
An industry source said the most likely path to success would be waivers. Here’s that scenario: A particular minority bidder creates an investment group that passed the NFL rally in every other way and was the highest bid, but he or she personally couldn’t reach the 30% threshold. . In this case, there would be energy to make a one-time exception.
Goodell said last week that he had worked with prospective black owners to develop future offers – “explaining our policies, our rules of ownership, what we can do to make sure they are better prepared to come into the process of acquiring a franchise and to have a full understanding of what it will take to get there – both financially and politically.
The NFL’s letter to Congress last week accusing commanders of withholding documents has been widely interpreted as a sign of something more, a suggestion that perhaps other owners have lost patience. But what does that actually mean? It remains extremely unlikely that Dan Snyder will be forced to sell, and even if the other owners did, this process would be fraught with uncertainty and risk.
But there is hypothetical middle ground, sources tell me, in which the other owners and the commissioner’s office might just release Snyder. He would still own his team, but would get little cooperation. That would be a problem for Washington stadium projects, which often require debt waivers and access to the league’s credit facility. “It’s really difficult to build a stadium at the moment without the league on your side,” said a team manager. “It could become difficult for him commercially.”
Even that seems extreme, given that all other owners would benefit from a new stadium in Washington. But don’t underestimate just how fed up serious NFL players really are.
- The end of the NFL season kicks off the league’s sell-out campaign for corporate sponsorships, reports SBJ’s Terry Lefton, who gleaned several newsworthy notes after a week at LA Marriott will return as a corporate sponsor of the NFL. Pepsi/Frito-Lay/Gatorade will also renew – but without its 10-year halftime sponsorship commitment. Ford, which has held the NFL’s truck rights since 2016, will leave as the league seeks to repackage cars and trucks in a full motor vehicle sponsorship that we’re told was initially priced at $50 million. dollars. Bose, which has had its logo on NFL coaches’ helmets since 2014 when it replaced Motorola, seems doubtful about renewing its costly side deal. Learn more in SBJ Marketing.
- The NFL set all-time social media records for Super Bowl LVI, including 1.8 billion impressions across the league’s social platforms all week, a 42% increase from the game from last year and 54% from 2020. My colleague Mark J. Burns has the details.
- LA and SoFi Stadium have joined the front runners when it comes to hosting future Super Bowls and could exclude some other cities from the race. Find out why I think the City of Angels makes too much sense for the NFL in this Spotlight video. Also, check out our ratings expert Austin Karp on some key Super Bowl LVI viewership metrics.
- The NY Post’s Andrew Marchand and our John Ourand in their latest show dig deeper into what’s next for Al Michaels, Sean McVay and Troy Aikman as they break down what could be a busy NFLTV off-season.
- The NFL’s West Coast headquarters, adjacent to SoFi Stadium, will likely become a new instant replay center for the league in the future, writes Tom Friend of SportTechie.
- The USFL signed Sportradar as a distributor of official league data to sports betting operators ahead of its first season. The league has also hired Darryn James as Senior Vice President/Communications. James was previously at AMB Sports & Entertainment.
- Crypto and sports betting brands were the big winners in app downloads on Super Bowl Sunday, according to data from Sensor Tower. Coinbase saw the strongest growth with installs climbing 309% week-over-week on Feb. 13 and 2,865 week-over-week on Feb. 14.