DENVER (CBS4) – While NFL players and owners finalize plans to share $9 billion in expected league revenue next season, local businesses are sighing in relief about their own finances.
Many Denver-area businesses depend on the league, particularly the Broncos, to stay afloat. The NFL Players Association unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement Monday; a move that breathes new life into store owners by making NFL football a sure thing for the next 10 years.
John Brennan owns Sportsfan, a business that sells Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche and Broncos gear at two Denver-area locations. The 16th Street store is about three miles from Invesco Field at Mile High, making it a hub for Broncos fans looking to stock up on orange and blue before kickoff time.
“As the Broncos go, that’s how this store goes,” Brennan said.
He said he would’ve panicked if owners and players hadn’t ended the 136-day lockout by August. But he said he never canceled any NFL-gear shipments.
“If we would’ve lost some exhibition games, I would’ve started worrying a little bit more,” Brennan said.
Fans bought jerseys of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow consistently throughout the summer despite not knowing whether the NFL season would happen, according to Brennan.
“Just this morning we had a nice little rush on Tebow again,” he said.
Matt Alessio, general manager of restaurant and bar Wyman’s No. 5, said an empty NFL calendar would’ve been “difficult,” but not “detrimental,” for business. Alessio said he tried to convince himself there was enough money at stake in the negotiations to keep the season alive. But the possibility of collapse still haunted him because Wyman’s, located near 13th Avenue and Vine Street, counts on enthusiastic football fans for much of its revenue.
When the Green Bay Packers played the Chicago Bears in an afternoon playoff game last season, people were lined up out the door by 8:30 a.m., Alessio said.
“The business we do on a Sunday for football is almost equivalent to what we do for the rest of the week,” he said.
Denver wasn’t the only city with football money in limbo during the negotiations. NFL cities would’ve missed out on $20 million per home game — $160 million for the entire season — if owners and players hadn’t reached an agreement, according to an Edgeworth Economics study.
Players approved the 10-year collective bargaining agreement after owners ratified the agreement Thursday. It extends through the 2020 season and gives owners about 53 percent of league revenues during that time while players get about 47 percent, according to ESPN.com. The previous agreement, which expired in March, split revenues almost equally between the two sides, according to the same source.
The Broncos will be one of 10 teams allowed to report to training camp Wednesday. Ten more are expected to follow suit on both Thursday and Friday, and the final two teams — the Houston Texans and New York Jets — can start working out Sunday, according to an NFL media release.
Camp opens 15 days in advance of each team’s first preseason game.
– Written by Andrew Gibson, CBS4 Intern