Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the NFL's CBA negotiations as well as the upcoming NBA labor issues.
Brandt, who has over 25 years of experience in professional football, both from the management and player representation side, runs NationalFootballPost.com, where he gives fans an insider's view on the business of football. His Twitter is: @ADBrandt.
He is also a lecturer at the Wharton School of Business, teaching Sports Law, Sports Business and Negotiations. He has written for Forbes, the Huffington Post and Sports Business Journal, while also appearing across all ESPN TV, radio and online platforms. In his time in the football business, Brandt as served as a player representative, a World League GM and a VP with the Packers.
Send your questions now and join Brandt Monday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (12:02 PM)
Andrew Brandt will be here at the top of the hour!
Andrew Brandt (12:05 PM)
Good to be back with everyone. This is a crucial time in the NFL and NBA as both leagues try to resolve their labor situations. I'll try to clear up as much as possible in the next half hour.
Macy (Auburn, AL)
What is the biggest non-revenue sharing issue for both sides in the NFL negotiations?
Andrew Brandt (12:07 PM)
I'd have to say beyond the revenue split, the most pressing issue is the cash minimum. That's the mandate that the NFL owners spend, not a cap minimum, but a cash minimum. Having spent some years in an NFL front office, I know of some of the accounting maneuvers that teams can make. That may be the biggest issue in the current talks beyond the split of revenues.
Blake Arnold (Berea,Kentucky)
Ok, How soon can you expect a new CBA proposed and accepted and do you think this hurts or helps the Philadelphia Eagles, in which way?
Andrew Brandt (12:09 PM)
In terms of an agreed upon CBA, I've tried to not speculate on a date. In terms of how quickly things can move after that, my sense is that there would be a term sheet that would define the deal points. There would not be a full blown CBA drafted for months. However, assuming that the lawsuit Brady v. NFL is dismissed or settled and Judge Nelson signs off on that settlement and allows any discontented players to voice their concern, things could move expediently after that.
When the topic of the NBA labor negotiations was batted around a few months ago, the tone from all sorts of league people (Stern, players, owners) was fairly positive. No it's all gloom and doom. Did something unexpected happen, or what?
Andrew Brandt (12:14 PM)
Interesting question. The NFL labor negotiations have been characterized by some rhetoric and sometimes sticky relationships, yet there is not too much distance between the positions. On the other hand, the NBA negotiations have been relatively cordial and respectful, yet there is a lot of distance between the two sides. There was a spark of rhetoric last week when the counter proposals were not well received. But suffice it to say that there's a large gulf to be bridged in the NBA in only a few days to try to cross it.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
The NFL and MLB have revenue sharing while the NBA seems to have less revenue sharing. Do you see that as the biggest stumbling block for NBA owners going forward?
Andrew Brandt (12:14 PM)
It is a major concern. When you talk to players, in all labor negotiations, they feel that the biggest issues are concerning revenue sharing. What frustrates players is that ownership has revenue issues within themselves and they expect players to give back to help those issues. The NBA has a larger concern, based on last summer's events, that even with increases revenue sharing, star players may not opt for lesser markets. As we know, the players that went to Miami took less money to play there than they could have in other markets. That is something NBA owners are trying to address with mechanisms beyond revenue sharing that provide additional incentives for players to stay with their incumbent teams, rather than move to larger markets. One of those mechanisms is borrowing a concept from the NFL, with "franchise player" model.
Chris (San Diego )
Hey Andrew. I just want to say you have done a nice job covering this lockout and continue the good work (well hopefully there won't be any more work to be done). Since the sides are talking it sounds like the regular season will begin on time, but training camp and preseason games are still at risk. If I were in the negotiations, I would propose to extend training camp and knock off two preseason games to give teams a more competitive edge. The coaches would get a longer time to evaluate their players and the preseason games would decide if the player will start or not. While I know it is slim to happen, is there a chance that the scneario I described happens?
Andrew Brandt (12:18 PM)
First, thanks for your kind comments. I am told one of the big issues being discussed in the private negotiations right now is the mechanics if/when the lockout ends in the next few weeks. Owners are proposing that they be able to have a right of first refusal on a couple of the many free agents coming up. I don't think that will happen, but I can envision a 3-5 grace period where teams are able to talk to their own free agents, but not to others. I so would envision some relaxation of some training camp roster numbers so that coaches and personnel staff will have more of an evaluation period to select their roster. Keep in mind, until everything is agreed to, everything is negotiable, including training camp dates, preseason dates and regular season dates. Stay tuned.
Justin (Chicago, IL)
Do you think that the NFLPA's constant demands for higher salaries for their players in the NFL lockout is in any way encouraging the NBPA to do the same in the impending NBA lockout?
Andrew Brandt (12:20 PM)
I think that both the NFLPA and NBPA are "playing goalie" and trying to protect the status quo. While both the NFL owners and NBA owners are trying to roll back salaries, based on what they claim to be a different economics than when the prior CBAs were negotiated. Conceptually, both the NFLPA and NBPA have accepted that the system needs modification. The devil, of course, is in the details in figuring out how far from the status quo things will end up.
Brandon Blake (Toledo, Ohio)
Are rookie salaries going to be changed? And if the season begins on time, do all of these new rules that they are implying or trying to, going into effect this year?
Andrew Brandt (12:23 PM)
First, on the rookies, they will be sacrificed. They have no voice. The owners think they make too much and the veterans think they make too much. Having said that, Rounds 2-7 in the draft won't look too different. The fundamental change will be in the first round, where owners won't be embarrassed by franchise killing contracts. The NFLPA has recognized and agreed to that. Now, the issue is to what degree are these contracts will be modified, what length, and how much upside/incentive/escalators, etc. will be allowed? But we can all expect that Sam Bradford will go down in history as the bonus baby in the NFL draft.
Andrew Brandt (12:24 PM)
As to the new rules, again, everything is negotiable, but my sense is most new rules will take effect immediately, with other issues coming into play later in the CBA. For instance, there will not be an 18-game schedule in 2011 nor in 2012, but my sense is it will remain on the table for later years in the deal.
Labor negotiations intrigue me when not in the courtroom. I wish I was in a business that could negotiate a labor agreement which ensures I can not lose money which is what the NBA owners want. Why would the players agree to a 10 year deal when TV contracts are up in five?
Andrew Brandt (12:26 PM)
In the NBA, the owners have asked for a 10-year deal, the players have asked for a five-year deal. We'll see where that goes. As for your comment on negotiations v. courtroom battles, both sides, in the NFL, have pressed pause on the courtoom and the judges have stood down and are waiting for negotiations to resolve or implode before making rulings. My sense is that both the 8th Circuit and Judge Dody know which way they're going to rule, but are standing down while momentum continues with the NFL talks.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
From what I hear, the splitting of the pie 48% players/52% owners seems quite fair now that they took the $1B in tax credits off the top. With a $9.3B pie, $1B represents a little over 11% of the pie, and even if the pie grows to $16B, $1B is still 6.25%. Do you think they are past the division of the pie hurdle at this point? What do you think of the split?
Andrew Brandt (12:30 PM)
I think it's been known for months that the players have wanted this calculation to be a straight division of gross revenues, rather than a billion off the top, $500 million off the top, whatever that meant. As reported by Chris Mortensen, there's a feeling that the split will end up 52 percent to the owners and 48 to the players, which would be a 2 percent move from where the players have been since last year, having requested a 50-50 split. Two percentage points is worth 200 million dollars next year and perhaps up to 400 million by the end of the deal. This would be a significant concession by the players, perhaps a quid pro quo for the reported cash minimum from ownership. That is a very valuable 'get' for the players. We'll see how the final revenue split works out, but since March, we've only been a few percentage points apart. In some ways, it's disappointing that it would take this long to split that amount.
Andrew Brandt (12:31 PM)
I appreciate everyone's questions. I look forward to continuing these chats. I'll try to take you inside the negotiations in both the NFL and NBA over the next few weeks.
Andrew Brandt (12:31 PM)
Thanks to everyone. See you soon. I look forward to chats where we can talk about the business of football instead of the non-business of football.