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Super Bowl lawsuit raises interesting questions regarding revenue sharing

Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks during a break in the NFL football owners meeting in Fort Worth, Texas Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. (AP Photo)


The NFL and the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones have been sued as a result of last Sunday’s Super Bowl seating fiasco. And with the league standing up to assume responsibility, even though the Cowboys’ fingerprints are all over the temporary seating situation, other teams are paying close attention to the manner in which the legal expenses and ultimate settlement/judgments will be handled.

Expenses incurred by the league currently are shared equally by the 32 teams. With the league claiming responsibility for something that may have been the actual responsibility of the Cowboys, every franchise ultimately will share equally in the financial costs of cleaning up the Cowboys’ mess.

It’s ironic, to say the least, that a potentially significant expense incurred by the Cowboys will be spread equally among all teams, given that Jones widely is believed to be the loudest voice against true revenue sharing.

“Right now, we are subsidizing this market,” Jones said in August 2009 regarding the Vikings and the place they currently call home. “It’s unthinkable to think that you’ve got the market you got here -- 3 ½ million people -- and have teams like Kansas City and Green Bay subsidizing the market. That will stop. . . . That’s going to stop. That’s on its way out.”

So Jones doesn’t want his team to subsidize other teams by sharing revenues, but other teams will potentially be subsidizing the Cowboys by sharing in the expenses arising from his ultimately failed effort to cram 103,986-plus bodies into his new stadium for Super Bowl XLV.

If Jones hopes to have any real credibility when arguing against expanded revenue sharing, he needs to make it known to his partners sooner rather than later that he’ll bear full financial responsibility for the Super Bowl seating debacle.