Do you remember the NFL lockout? Of course you do, it was all the rage in the news during the dead part of the summer when nothing is on except baseball. Owners were poor-mouthing that they were losing millions on their teams (while at the same time refusing to open their books) and locked out players to force them into making up the difference.
For months, the epic legal battle between NFL Union leader DeMaurice Smith and his arch nemesis Grand Admiral Roger Goodell of the NFL owners empire played out until a new agreement was signed.
Of course, as of this week, we now see that all of that fighting was for nothing: the owners were lying, the players gave up too much.
Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, who has owned the expansion franchise Jaguars since they debuted in 1993, sold the team to businessman Shahid R. Khan and expects the deal to be finalized by January. The sale of this moribund franchise shows with laser-like focus just how much of a sham the NFL lockout was and just how much owners like Weaver were more about ego and control over their 40 million dollar slaves than they ever were about money, winning or (heaven forbid) the fans.
The two main arguments used by the owners this year to justify locking out the players have all been debunked by this purchase.
1.) Small Market Teams can’t compete with big market teams for television rights, star players and attendance numbers. Thus players need give up more.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the 4th smallest market in the NFL. Do you know who the three smaller market teams ahead of them are? The Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills. The last two Superbowls were won by the Packers and the Saints, and the Buffalo Bills have kept a loyal fan-base for years in a competitive New York market with fan favorite players like Doug Flutie and Drew Bledsoe. Current and former stars like Phil Simms, Aaron Rogers and even Reggie Bush (who just left the Saints) are all over the television promoting their teams.
So basically, it’s not the size of your market that determines whether or not owners are successful. It’s how they manage them.
2.) We’re LOSING MONEY on our Franchises !
Yes: the greatest lie of them all. When Weaver bought the Jaguars, rights and franchise included, it cost him about 200 million dollars in 1992.
Despite a hot start in the late 90’s the Jags have been garbage for the last decade. They’ve won ONE playoff game in 10 years – for comparison’s sake, Tom Brady has more Super bowl wins than the Jacksonville Jaguars have playoff appearances over the last decade. They have the lowest attendance figures in the league, and have to black out games all the time because no one wants to show up, and they are the least valuable franchise in the NFL.
Despite all that, the team was appraised to be worth about 756 million this summer and just sold to Shahid Khan for 760 million on Tuesday. That’s right, a 300% increase in the value of a property that hasn’t performed for the fans in decades.
That’s why the NFL lockout was a sham. The owners were never losing money because the value of their properties has always gone up. You aren’t losing money by spending $1000.00 installing a wooden fence if the value of the entire property goes up by $25,000. Let alone the fact that an owner who has poorly managed his team and cut corners, producing a product that no one (fans) wanted to buy is still going to make out like a bandit.
Lockouts are never really about money. They are not market correction tools or necessary evils. They are simply a bludgeon by which owners and managers can beat employees into submission for deals that give them less power and fewer options. Congratulations to new owner Shahid R. Khan: he’s now bought himself into one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. He will soon be handed his own embroidered cudgel.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.