The National Football League plans to operate as normally as possible for the upcoming 2021 season and announced to teams that they would lose games and lose money if Covid outbreaks occur due to unvaccinated players.
In a memo received from CNBC, the NFL announced to team leaders and head coaches that it has no plans to postpone games like it did in the 2020 season due to outbreaks. Instead, the league wrote: “Postponements will only take place if this is done by government agencies, medical experts or the [NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s] Discretion.”
The NFL notes that most of their teams vaccinated 100 percent of their top employees and kept logs for unvaccinated employees. In addition, the league said more than 75 percent of players are vaccinated, and more than half of clubs have vaccination rates greater than 80 percent of their players.
If games are postponed or canceled due to unvaccinated people, teams and players could also face fines.
Players cannot be guaranteed guaranteed money in contracts and could be fined for using harmful language. The NFL players’ union warned voters of the league’s stance on postponing games and urged unvaccinated players to get vaccinated and avoid contract issues through adverse behavior. The NFLPA sent out its own memo on Thursday reminding players that “if games were missed because of a COVID-19 outbreak, no one would have paid.” The memo ends with the NFLPA asking players to come forward with questions.
On the team front, “the club experiencing the outbreak is responsible for any additional expenses incurred by the opposing team and must also pay any shortfall between the actual and expected payment to the VTS pool (visitor team portion).” In addition, clubs that are losing will have losses on their balance sheets, threatening their chances in the postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) falls back to face the onslaught from Baltimore Ravens linebacker LJ Fort (58) during the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan.
Mark Goldman | Sportswire icon | Getty Images
“Given the considerable flexibility of the squad for the 2021 season, a lack of medical considerations or regulatory instructions, games will not be postponed or postponed just to avoid squad problems caused by injuries or illnesses affecting multiple players, even within a position group.” said the memo.
The league’s tough stance on postponing games will also protect network partners who have just agreed to a media deal worth more than $ 100 billion.
The NFL postponed several games over the past season due to Covid outbreaks, including the Week 12 competition between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. This game was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day but has been postponed three times. It was finally played on December 2nd and drew 10.8 million viewers on NBC. The Thanksgiving Day 2019 game on the network drew around 21 million viewers.
Advertising metrics data company EDO estimated that advertisers lost value on the Ravens Steelers game. The 2019 NFL Thanksgiving night game grossed NBC $ 62.8 million, according to EDO. And data analytics firm Simulmedia said the 2020 competition was worth $ 70 million.
NFL training camps open this month in preparation for the 2021 season. The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off the year on September 9th.