NFL Goes to Lockout-What Does This Mean For the Future?

As labor negotiations between the NFL and the players union could not come to an agreement last night, an NFL lockout was officially imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Neither side could come to an agreement and what many predicted would happen has officially occurred.

Even though the lockout is only a few hours old (as of writing this), implications and questions as to when it will end have come to mind. Teams cannot sign players, trades or conduct business with personnel during this time and fans are wondering if they will see their favorite NFL teams play in the fall. No matter how it’s viewed, there are a lot of questions in regards to the future for both the fans and the respective cities the teams play in.

For a lot of NFL cities, having a lockout in the fall could hinder the amount of revenue cities normally bring in for an NFL game. In a lot of NFL cities, bars, restaurants, hotels and other businesses bring in revenue due to NFL games being there. Fans from other NFL cities will sometimes travel to see their favorite teams and other fans who do not have tickets for the game tend to frequent local bars and other establishments to watch the game. Not having an NFL game week by week during the lockout could hinder the amount of revenue these businesses make and hurt the amount of revenue the cities make as well.

In other sports, the effects of a lockout or strike (the two are different) have been known to turn off fans and make them upset. When Major League Baseball went on strike in 1994 and canceled the World Series as a result, many fans became turned off by what was seen as greed between the players and the owners and the league has been trying to recover ever since. The NBA suffered similar feelings from fans during the lockout of the 1998-1999 season and it took a long time for the league to recover from that as well. No matter what sport it was, work stoppages have been known to turn off fans and recovery time is not quick.

In contrast to Major League Baseball and the NBA, the NHL lockout a few seasons ago has been considered to have helped the league rather than hurt it. Even though the NHL became the first major sport to have an entire season canceled, the aftermath has been considered to have a positive effect on the game. The players union agreed to several rule changes that have made fans happier (e.g. having a shootout instead of games ending in a tie, getting rid of the two line pass rule which eliminated the neutral zone trap and the left wing lock that hindered goal scoring) and Commissioner Gary Bettman has seen more revenue generated. Losing the season for a year was not initially seen as positive, however, it forced the league to make changes that have developed more revenue.

Even though it still isn’t announced whether or not the entire NFL season will be wiped out, a lockout could force the NFL to back off or make changes fans and other insiders have been calling for over the past several years. Many have called for a rookie salary cap because of the high salaries first round draft picks (and number one picks) have been making compared to veteran players. The players have wanted a different retirement system and fans have also been calling out for a shorter preseason. Due to the fact the fans ultimately pay for the tickets and help bring in revenue, a work stoppage and the effects of it could force both sides to decide on these issues and many more and could possibly have a positive effect in the long term.

While the length of the NFL lockout has yet to be decided, the only thing for certain is that there are questions regarding the long term effects.

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~ by jeffrsabo on March 12, 2011.

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