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“With the sport reaching heights that Pete Rozelle would never dreamed of, we want to keep it that way,” he said. “We know what happens to sports after a strike or a lockout; people turn away and it takes a while for them to come back. It would be a great tragedy if both sides weren’t able to reach an agreement.”

The union uses the record viewership as evidence the league is doing just fine financially and doesn’t need to redistribute revenue _ and that the timing is risky for a work stoppage.

Steve Solomon, a former ABC and NHL executive who works as a media consultant, said the amount of revenue a league can bring in from TV doesn’t affect the major debates of a labor negotiation.

“Regardless of how much money there is in this pie, there’s the same issues that are going on in the NBA in their negotiations and what went on with the NHL in their negotiations,” he said. “Whatever the pie is, it is about whatever is the fairest way to split it up.”