NFL greed could hurt Indy

$400 million in one weekend: that’s what the city of Indianapolis will lose out on if the National Football League and the NFL Players’ Association fail to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement.

While the league’s lockout “millionaire versus billionaire” fight continues into its fifth week, the city of Indianapolis is paying the price.

Though tourism, hospitality and Super Bowl planning leaders say they’re continuing to move forward with “business as usual,” I cannot help but think how greed in sports could ruin this incredible opportunity for Indianapolis.

Beginning with the creation of the Capital Improvement Board in 1965, the city has built itself up as a sports city. Indianapolis leaders wanted their city to become the amateur sports capital of the world.

Today, Indianapolis is the home of the NCAA, the National Federation of State High School Associations, USA Synchronized Swimming, USA Diving, USA Football, USA Track and Field and USA Gymnastics.

The city has spent­—and continues to spend—millions to build and maintain Conseco Fieldhouse for the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, along with the Indianapolis Colts’ $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium.

The city has a deal with the NCAA to host the Men’s Final Four once every five years, according to an Indianapolis Star article from 2004.

“The NCAA not only broke from its conventional bidding process, it also promised the Indiana Sports Corp., an additional event in each of the intervening years between men’s Final Fours,” the article said. “The women’s Final

Four, men’s and women’s early-round tournament games and the NCAA Convention will be included in each five-year cycle.”

It is only natural that, as Indy has grown into its role as a sports city, it hosts a Super Bowl.

But greed could stand in its way.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, a player’s salary is defined as any “compensation in money, property, investments, loans or anything else of value to which an NFL player may be awarded.”

NFL franchise owners currently take $1 billion off the top of the approximately $9 billion total revenue brought in by the league. After that, a little less than 60 percent of the remaining money goes to the NFLPA—which includes player salaries and benefits—while the owners share the rest.

Sure, players are getting more than half of the revenue the NFL generates, but that’s after the 32 owners take the first billion. Their demands for a new collective bargaining agreement include an additional billion off the top.

While the 32 owners share in about 40 percent of the income, the other 60 percent is being spread out among the league’s 1,696 players.

I understand the owners are trying to run a successful business, but they have to make the players happy. With no players, they have no business. It is the players and their likeness that rake in the cash.

Many today argue that players are overpaid.

In reality, they are paid what we have deemed them to be worth.

We are the ones who watch the games, buy the jerseys, play the video games and idolize them. As a society, we look up to the players as though they are demigods

If we expect for them to be paid less, we should not look up to them as superheroes.

In all this, I suppose I am just upset that a city like Indianapolis, which has more than 10,000 volunteers working tirelessly to make sure the city is pristine, could lose out on the Super Bowl because of a few selfish individuals.

They would take away the Super Bowl—though it has never happened before—for a billion more dollars. They would take away that $400 million from Indianapolis so that the billionaires can accumulate another billion.

Indy deserves this Super Bowl. If greed takes it away, we should look to the NFL in shame, not adoration.

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