MIAMI (CBS4) – Early Saturday morning, the NFL announced the first work stoppage in the sport since 1987 when the players went on strike. The move came after the NFL Players Association decertified and several players sued the league over anti-trust violation. But the lockout could have long lasting impacts on South Florida and other communities.

According to Forbes Magazine, the Miami Dolphins are worth roughly $1 billion, but Forbes found the team had a negative $7.7 million operating income heading into the 2010 season. This put the Dolphins dead last in the NFL for operating income.

The only other team to lose money in the 2009 season was the Detroit Lions, who have been an also-ran in the NFL for more than a decade.

For the Fins, this puts them far behind the big market teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins when it comes to making money. It also starts to illuminate a picture as to why the Dolphins are currently saying there are no layoffs coming…for now.

CBSMiami news partner the Miami Herald talked with Dolphins CEO Mike Dee who said the team has plans in place for the organization should the lockout become protracted.

“We’ve communicated openly with our staff that we see it as being business as usual for the moment,” Dee said. “We’re taking this one month at a time, one week at a time, even. Clearly, we’ve talked about all of the various scenarios that could play out, but we haven’t made any final plans to move forward with any changes to the CBA at the present time.”

Sun Life Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, has a capacity of 75,540. Given the average NFL ticket price in 2010 was $76.47, according to, the Dolphins pull in roughly $5.78 million per game.

But losing that revenue for the Fins is only part of the equation. The Fins, and every other NFL franchise, will likely lose their piece of $4 billion in television revenue that was to be paid to franchises regardless of games being played. That money was set to be blocked by U.S. District Judge David Doty.

The bigger impact for the Dolphins will be for the employees who rely on game day concessions and other parts to help bring in money. Vendors, security personnel, and others will be left looking for work at a time when the unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County is 12 percent.

Plus, the Miami Dolphins are fighting to get more public funding for Sun Life Stadium improvements to help attract another Super Bowl starting in 2015. With the state legislature loathe to giving money out to just about anyone, they will not take kindly to giving money to franchises who are costing communities jobs as teams and players bicker over the NFL’s $9 billion in yearly revenue.

As the antitrust lawsuit gets started and the lockout takes hold, the NFL will effectively be put in a deep freeze for the foreseeable future. For teams struggling to turn profits, like the Dolphins, any sort of fan revolt that begins to erupt as millionaires and billionaires fight will only further depress the NFL marketplace.

The NFL will survive, but for owners like Stephen Ross who are trying to turn their team into an upper echelon money making machine, a lockout is only going to hurt their standing in the community.

Plus, with the Marlins set to move into a new stadium next year, and the Heat set to make a strong playoff run, the Dolphins run the risk of falling off the sports radar in the near-term in South Florida. And if the lockout cancels games this fall, the biggest winners of all will be college football.

Comments (5)
  1. fenton Sneed says:

    Who cares about a group of people who work one day a week for 4 months ? Better to just go to the game, bring your own beer and Cuban sandwich and watch rich people fall down and sweat. Funny, when you think about it. Mr. Ross could sell ice and empty cups for extra revenue if he wanted to keep a little extra for himself. At least the guy who delivers the ice could make a buck, too. Also, take the bus to the game, save gas and angst dealing with all the moron drivers in town. ll

  2. Michael Mclaughlin says:

    If the NFL is fighting over this much money, it just goes to show how much the American people were gouged on the expenses that make up the television dollars, perhaps the American people should have a say in this matter, and demand a rebate, and take the 1 billion dollars the owners want, and spread the wealth to every man, woman, and child in the U.S. that were obviously gouged at the market.. That would probably come out to $1.50 per person, which would be better then 32 greedy owners splitting another $1 billion .
    The only losers in this whole fiasco, are the American people, maybe we can show the owners who the real bosses are, and boycott the draft, and the sponsers of the draft., and of the NFL. I can give up Budweiser, Ford, Mcdonalds, Taco Bell, and all the other billion dollar industries, who got rich off of us, the American people.

  3. MiamiMex says:

    If people realized how many of their tax dollars were used to pay the millionaire gladiators and their owners they would be mad as hell.

    I love my sports but those people are WAY overpaid.


  4. Barry M. says:

    We say the same thing each and every time: this go round we will not support the owners/players because they have toyed with us once too often. And every time peace is declared we dutifully go back to our seats, pay exhorbinant prices for crummy food and smile as if we just won something.

    I was a season ticket holder when the stadium was first built; I stopped going to games after Huizenga paired a Dolphins season ticket with a Marlin’s package. HE is the epitome of greedy.

    I found that I actually enjoyed the TV version of the NFL more than going thru the hassles of being at the game. I don’t miss it at all. If this garbage continues then I will just focus more of my energy on the college game, which is a lot more fun anyway..

    Nobody asked these guys to play pro ball or forces them to continue to play it. Their bodies their choice. Why does it surprise anybody that rich greedy owners want even more?

    Does anybody know what the last CBA called for? the players get something like 69% of the revenuesfrom the TV contract after the first BILLION dollars the owners take off the top.

    SO, who is the greedier? If we really want change then vote with our wallets. Stay home and watch a game. More comfortable, both sides lose gameday revenue. Or boycott advertisers and tell them WHY you are boycotting their products. Or just embrace the college game, which at least attempts to be fair to all……………

  5. Paula Spencer says:

    This is going to make a financial blow to the city of Miami for 2 yrs. Don’t think the citizens even realize it yet. Obviously CBS4’s Web does. Too bad we never get to see who writes the stories any more. That is not a good policy. Everyone likes to respond to the writer and get their specific comments. Web does a great job of keeping the news up to date for readers. With your unemployment rate where it is, this is really going to hurt that part of your city. Keep up the great work. We’ll keep reading.

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