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Study: State would lose $40M without NFL season

Comptroller Peter Franchot

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland, which is home to two NFL football teams, would lose an estimated $40 million in tax revenues if the NFL’s season is canceled because of a labor dispute, a study by the Maryland comptroller’s office said Tuesday.

Comptroller Peter Franchot described the report as the first of its kind in the nation to gauge how a canceled season would affect revenues in state and local governments. Maryland is home to the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins, who play in Landover.

“Our economy is still very fragile and while we’ve been meeting our recent revenue estimates, those estimates have been historically conservative,” Franchot said. “Unanticipated events, such as the lack of revenue from Ravens’ and Redskins’ games, would throw an unwanted speed bump on our road to economic recovery.”

The study estimated that each lost home game of the Redskins or Ravens could result in a $2 million loss in tax revenue.

The study examined potential losses from direct and indirect revenue sources. Direct revenue, accounting for most of the money, included income tax paid to the state by players and other employees of an NFL team, sales from concession stands or NFL merchandise. It also included the admissions and amusement tax, which is generated from the purchase of an NFL ticket.

The study pointed out that some of the revenue lost could be recaptured by other events, but noted revenue from players’ salaries would likely not be replaced.

Indirect sources of revenue, such as sales tax collections and alcohol taxes gained from restaurants or bars during and after games, also were considered. Indirect losses also would include income tax losses from lost wages and owners’ income from businesses that usually experience an increase in demand because of football games.

The NFL owners locked the players out on March 12 after opting out of their collective bargaining agreement.

Several people with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his labor committee will meet with players association chief DeMaurice Smith on Wednesday and Thursday in Boston. The owners spent five hours Tuesday getting updated on various collective bargaining issues. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.

“We’re going to meet with them soon and we’re eager to accelerate the pace of the negotiations,” said Jeff Pash, the league’s chief negotiator.

NFL training camps are scheduled to open in late July. The Ravens hold camp at McDaniel College in Westminster, while the Redskins train at the headquarters in Virginia.