The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which could pave the way for NFL teams to negotiate their own deals for merchandising could go one of two ways for the Raiders.
If the Raiders, as coach Tom Cable is promising, are on the verge of a breakthrough and contending for championships, it means in the future the franchise could reap the benefits of an increase in popularity.
As recently as 2004, the Raiders were on a three-year run of being atop the NFL in terms of merchandise sales.
For all the rhetoric and slogans espoused by Al Davis about his franchise, he’s right when he says the franchise has a unique identity in terms of colors and logos which are among the most recognizable in professional sports.
However, the continuing run of ineptitude (you know the record, oh, what the hell, it’s 29-83) over the past seven years means the Raiders brand has taken a heavy beating as well. Should it come to pass that merchandise revenue isn’t shared, it would be another area where the Raiders are coming up short in terms of revenue.
They’re not in the top 10 any more _ that position belongs to the New Orleans Saints, who beat out Pittsburgh, Dallas and Minnesota. In terms of merchandise, that hasn’t hurt in terms of the pocketbook because the league splits the profits evenly.
New Orleans had never been in the top 10 before winning the Super Bowl, in part because of a well-documented history of mostly mediocre football.
A Raiders revival would likely result in a silver and black bandwagon, which in theory would mean an avalanche of profits which wouldn’t have to be shared with anyone else.
The case, brought by the apparel company American Needle challenging an NFL agreement with Reebok on antitrust grounds, is far from over. It is being sent back to a federal district court to resume, and as the NFL noted, the Supreme Court decision on what is agreed to in collective bargaining.
There is no immediate impact to the ruling, but it becomes a key part of negotiations for a future CBA.