Sports Fans Coalition: Let Fans Observe Labor Negotiations

The Sports Fans Coalition is a nonprofit organization fighting to give fans a voice on issues in sports, such as media blackouts, high ticket prices and even the NFL's labor dispute that's taken the sport hostage. The Coalition setup a website in January called Save Next Season, allowing fans to sign a petition to, well, save next season.

Sports Fans Coalition Executive Director Brian Fredrick sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on Tuesday about negotiations.

Fredrick asks that Sports Fans Coalition observe the negotiation process inside the same room to help keep fans informed without the respective spin from both sides.

Dear Mr. Goodell and Mr. Smith,

On behalf of NFL fans everywhere, we are requesting that the leadership of Sports Fans Coalition be present for future negotiating sessions between the NFL and the NFL Players Association until such time as a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

We are not asking for a seat at the negotiating table -- although we believe fans deserve one -- but merely to be present in the room so that we may inform fans across the country about the state of ongoing negotiations and ensure that progress is being made towards an agreement that ensures a central consideration of fans.

As fans and taxpayers, we have invested over $6.5 billion around the country on NFL stadiums, in addition to the billions we have spent on tickets and NFL merchandise. We have transformed our urban centers with the promise that new stadiums would serve as an economic boon to the surrounding community. A work stoppage would be devastating to many cities, including local workers and businesses.

The NFL and other professional sports leagues also enjoy an exemption from federal antitrust statutes with respect to negotiating broadcast rights, which has enabled the owners and players to make significant revenues.

If the NFL and NFLPA cannot come to an agreement and a devastating work stoppage is the result, the public has a right to know why.

Hopefully, both sides can come to an agreement in the immediate future and this great American sport can continue to bring happiness to the many fans, families, and communities that enjoy professional football. Until then, the fans deserve to know that someone in the negotiation process is looking out for their best interests.

We will contact your offices to follow up on this request.

We put the likelihood of the league or NFLPA allowing this below zero. And we're not sure if they should, or shouldn't. The fact is, fans are generally indifferent about the negotiation process, provided it doesn't impact the regular season by canceling games.

Of course, there's the few of us that are crazy about the NFL, setting up weekend activities for when free agency kicks off. We won't have that and that makes us sad. But the majority of fans? A few mentions of the NFL Draft, maybe checking out who the team picked up or lost while fanaticism takes a break until the regular season.

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