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As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.
In this case, your squirrel has found a heck of a nut: the solution to the NFL labor problems.
In salvaging the season, I’ll also provide the added bonus of keeping us from the crime spree that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis warned us will happen if the season is canceled.
This is such an easy fix, I don’t know why it hasn’t been previously presented.
Here’s the situation. Not surprisingly, the players and the owners are divided over the issue of money.
At stake is, roughly, a billion dollars per year. Neither side seems willing to give, but that is mostly just posturing.
My proposal has to do with bringing in additional revenue on an annual basis. That will make the pot significantly larger, thus making compromise quite a bit easier to reach.
My proposal should bring in anywhere between 600 and 800 million dollars. Add that to the billion at stake, divide it by two and give each side between 800 and 900 million smackers a year. That’s very fair, by anyone’s standard.
You may be asking yourself where the additional semolians would come from. Good question. Here’s your answer: Corporate branding on the fronts of players’ jerseys.
Just like those European soccer guys.
I saw in Business Week that the Barcelona soccer team receives $40.9 million per year to bear the name of the Qatar Foundation. FC Bayern Munich bears the name of Deutsche Telecom, receiving $35.7 million in return.
Manchester United carries the logo of insurance giant AON on the fronts of its players jerseys, receiving $32.75 million for its troubles.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. Let’s say they received $25 million each for naming rights to those jerseys. By my math, you’re talking $800,000,000 per year.
You might be thinking that such an idea would cheapen the sport; that NFL players bearing the names of banks and electronics manufacturers would be grossly wrong.
I couldn’t agree more. That’s why my proposal takes things one step further. I’d only allow branding of teams’ jerseys with companies that had a natural fit.
For example, the Buffalo Bills would be sponsored by a particular restaurant chain. The team’s jerseys, therefore, would read “Buffalo Wild Wings” Bills.
There are so many natural fits here, that I’m surprised this proposal hasn’t been carried forward before. In just a couple of minutes, I came up with the following:
-Denver Ford Broncos
-San Diego Visa Chargers
-St. Louis Dodge Rams
-Arizona Tea Cardinals
-New York Peppermint Patties Jets
-Miami Dolphin-free Star Kist Tuna
-Minnesota “Thor, the movie” Vikings
-Seattle’s Best Coffee Seahawks.
-Detroit Lion King, now on Broadway
Hey, even a local company can get into the act:
-Tampa Bay’s Trash Removal (BTR)
Such a move was inevitable, given marketers’ desire to get their brands in front of as many eyeballs as they possibly can.
What I’m trying to do is to help preserve a shred of dignity for the sport.
As the corporate world becomes ever more entangled in the sporting world, the two have become nearly indistinguishable.
At least we sports writers remain untainted. For example, if those very nice people at Dunkin’ Donuts offered me money to push their product, I would walk away from that.
Sure, I may find it hard to walk away from a freshly brewed mug of enticing Dunkin’ Donuts Cinnamon Spice coffee and a delicious Dunkin’ Donut chocolate glazed donut.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t walk away from money.