We all know that the NFL is far and away the most popular sport in the US. It doesn't matter what the league does, what the owners do, what the players do; when games are on the schedule, they will sell out the stadium, and millions more fans will be watching on TV. To follow is a comparison of the most recent work stoppages in the US, and how the NFL will come out of this current debacle unscathed.
The current NFL labor dispute is more or less over what percentage of the overall revenue that is made by the NFL should go to the players, and how much should go to the owners. There may be some small clauses about retirement etc, but the main holdup is about who gets how much money.
In 1994 Major League Baseball, the strike (Aug 12, 1994 to April 2, 1995) affected two seasons, and ultimately affected the playoffs and for the first time since 1904 the World Series was not played. The major reason for this work stoppage was that the league wanted to institute a salary cap, putting a limit on how much a player could be paid.
This didn't go over well with the fans of the sport. The common fan didn't understand how a players union with an average annual income of $1.2 million were striking because they wanted more money. In 1995 when play resumed, TV ratings plummeted and TV ratings dropped by about 20%.
The National Hockey League experienced their most recent work stoppage in 2004 (Aug 12, 1994 to April 2, 1995). This was the first time ever in North America that an entire season had been lost to a stoppage. The players wanted a salary minimum, guaranteed contracts and a bigger slice of the overall revenue.
There was such a lack of support from the fans once the work stoppage ended, that the NHL had to enact major rules changes, including adding the shootout to decide the winner, instead of ending in a tie as had been the case prior.
The National Basketball Association's most recent work stoppage was in 1998 starting July 1, 1998 and ended Jan 6, 1999. The season was shortened from 82 to 50 games, and the outcome was a $14 million salary cap, and a rookie pay scale. Fan support dropped, and the league suffered for a few years after that.
This current NFL work dispute is different. The fans don't seem to have the same outrage toward the players as in previous strikes in other sports. When the games resume, there won't be any shortage of fans in the seats, or watching at home. The NFL is so popular, that no matter what either side wants or does, they will seemingly come out on the other side stronger than ever.