Ed Garvey, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, said yesterday that the NFL and the three major television networks have agreed to a five-year, $2 billion contract that will award ABC its first Super Bowl telecast.
The NFL and the networks denied Garvey's claim that a contract has been signed. But league sources said Garvey was correct in saying that ABC will be included in future Super Bowl telecasts.
ABC is expected to telecast the 1985 Super Bowl. Either CBS or NBC televised the previous 16 Super Bowls.
Garvey said his information, which he said was provided by "two authoritative industry sources," would mean each of the league's 28 teams would average $14.2 million per year over the life of the contract. Garvey said the average would be $15.2 million if radio and preseason television money is added.
Under terms of the current television contract, teams averaged $5.6 million from the networks and $6.3 million when all broadcast revenues were figured.
Joe Browne, director of publicity for the NFL, said the league and the networks were still negotiating. "There has been no agreement and I don't know when there will be one," the spokesman said.
But it was learned that although the final contract figures probably wouldn't be as high as Garvey's, they would be close. League sources said that Garvey's figures, in some cases, represented what the NFL sought in its original proposals.
According to Garvey, the new agreement would cost ABC $500 million, NBC $700 million and CBS $800 million. CBS' cost would be highest because the network has the highest television ratings.
Garvey called a press conference yesterday to discuss the new television contract figures and to release detailed information on team-by-team salaries. The NFLPA and the league currently are negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement. The players are seeking to share a percentage of the NFL's annual gross revenue.
"We had projected figures of about $11.6 million per team under the new television contract," Garvey said. "I would think that if the $2 billion figure is correct, and we have reason to believe it is, the NFL owners would be anxious to get to the bargaining table and really get going. It would be foolish for them not to come to the table and run the risk of having the baseball situation of last summer.
"If the networks are going to pay out this kind of money and are out selling advertising, I would think the networks would be interested in finding out what is going to happen at the bargaining table, too."
Garvey also charged that some players have been told by their teams that the NFL will lock them out this summer if no collective-bargaining agreement has been reached.
Garvey's said his salary figures were taken directly from player contracts examined by the NFLPA. He said they showed that the Redskins' average 1981 salary was $89,162. The NFLPA estimated that the Redskins took in $5,706,350 in gross revenue. The Redskins pay 32 percent of their gross revenue in salaries, second in the league behind Denver's 34 percent.
The NFLPA said that the average player salary in the league is $83,811. The NFL Management Council says the average salary is $90,102. The NFLPA maintains that almost 64 percent of its membership made $80,000 or less last year, which Garvey said was far below what the NFL should be paying the majority of its players. The NFLPA also said that teams paid out about 30 percent of their gross revenue in salaries. The NFLPA has talked about seeking 55 percent of the gross in the new contract with the league.
According to the NFLPA figures, Denver had the highest average salary ($106,028) in the league, with Pittsburgh next ($104,282). Kansas City was the lowest ($64,859). Los Angeles had the highest gross revenue ($19.8 million) and Cincinnati the lowest ($14.5 million).
In a related development, the NFL's Management Council filed a noninjury grievance under terms of the current collective-bargaining agreement, charging that the NFLPA, by releasing figures obtained through examination of individual player contracts, violated terms of a National Labor Relations Board ruling that allowed NFLPA access to those contracts.
These are the team-by-team average salaries for 1981, according to the NFLPA:
Denver--$106,028; Pittsburgh--$104,282; Cincinnati--$100,058; Chicago--$95,311; Oakland--$92,170; Dallas--$90,491; New England--$90,467; Buffalo--$89,664; Washington--$89,102; San Diego--$87,643; Cleveland--$87,602; Los Angeles--$86,229; Baltimore--$85,935; Seattle--$85,880; Philadelphia--$83,063; New Orleans--$80,402; Miami--$89,225; Detroit--$78,655; New York Jets--$78,263; Green Bay--$77,067; Tampa Bay--$76,761; San Francisco--$76,310; New York Giants--$75,738; St. Louis--$74,759; Houston--$71,502; Minnesota--$71,028; Atlanta--$69,740; Kansas City--$64,859.