NFL franchise values are higher than ever before, and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the National Football League Players Association, thinks he knows why. The league’s current and previous long-term labor agreements paved the way to wealth, Smith said. “Whether TV deals or stadium deals or sponsorship deals or partnership deals,” Smith said, the longevity of those collective bargaining agreements “has a way of insulating you against certain levels of business interruption.”
In a pre-recorded interview for tomorrow’s SporticoLive: NFL Valuations 2020 event, Smith called the $99 billion collective value of the league’s 32 franchises “astronomical” and “directly attributable to the economic philosophy that we have pursued.” Smith learned of the franchise valuation totals in real time during the interview, following the release of Sportico’s report this morning.
The union chief also pointed out that while some teams get it right—such as the Dallas Cowboys, which rank first at $6.43 billion (“Jerry Jones has built the best mouse trap”)—other teams “leave money on the table.” Revenue sharing has helped fill the gaps, Smith said. “If you were at a team that decided that they weren’t going to maximize every revenue opportunity, and therefore your salary was tied to just how aggressive some of those teams went about making money as opposed to how aggressive another team would make money, that would be unfair to you,” he said.
The result, Smith said, is a system of shared revenue that is more equitable for his union members than if teams acted more independently in setting its salary framework, pointing to Major League Baseball.
The NFL and its players entered-into a new collective bargaining agreement in March, which runs until 2030.