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August 2012, Vol. 135, No. 8
The football lockout of 2011
Paul D. Staudohar
Paul D. Staudohar is professor emeritus of business administration at California State University, East Bay, and a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.
The National Football League (NFL) is the most successful sports league ever. It generated about $9.3 billion in revenue in 2010, by far eclipsing other leagues. Although the profits that team owners made are not available, no team loses money and most have enviable profit margins.1 Therefore, the collective bargaining dispute that led to the 136-day lockout in 20112 was not the result of owners' inability to pay, as it was in the recent National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) lockouts, but rather was due to the owners' unwillingness to pay. In the end, NFL owners were able to get the players to accept a smaller share of revenue. Except for the cancellation of the Hall of Fame exhibition game in Canton, Ohio, no other loss of the 2011 season occurred.
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1Matthew Futterman, "Blocking the Ball: What's at Issue," Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2011, p. B5.
2The 136 days are based on the time from the beginning of the lockout (March 12, 2011) to the day it ended (July 25, 2011). Because BLS reports on work stoppages only count workdays, its statistics would reflect a shorter number of days for any given work stoppage.
Hockey lockout of 2004–05, The.—Dec. 2005.
Baseball negotiations: a new agreement—Dec. 2002.
Baseball strike of 1994-95, The.—Mar. 1997.
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