Wednesday, February 2, 2011

N.F.L. Labor struggle, Battlefield moves Online

Hours later, DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the Union, the players responded on Twitter that he would work to 68 cents, if an agreement was reached with the Super Bowl.

The volley Goodell-Smith was the last of a dispute that is the first in the history of sports to be played extensively on digital turf. With the current agreement between the League and the Union that expires on 3 March, the two parties are affected, counter and needling each other on Twitter, Facebook and websites dedicated to can block. Their dueling online was designed partly to woo fans to their corners.

"Fans to buy tickets, purchase products, fans fill stadiums and may have an influence on politicians," Paul Hicks, executive vice president of the League of communications and government relations, said in an interview. "I think that the owners and players are highly sensitive to fan opinion."

Hicks is a central figure in the strategy for disseminating information more quickly, as the recent letter of Goodell, which was emailed to five million supporters and explained the collective bargaining position of the League.

"You need to sell your idea and use every opportunity that you can at a speed that it is not usually normal in an enterprise environment," said Hicks. "We have a mindset of campaign. We want our suggestions of market and how we want the game to be in the future. "

News conferences used to be the main arena of leagues and trade unions to argue their cases and respond to what the other side was saying.

Now a retort is a click away. Both the League and the Union hopes for a wide and back on Twitter between like-minded users.

On January 21st, the League took to Twitter to highlight a poll that said 99 percent of those surveyed opposed Congressional involvement in labor talks stalled. In her answers, George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director of the Union, whose role is similar to Hicks s, wrote, "Those are Kim Jong-il 's," referring to the North Korean leader.

Atallah and Hicks play their roles in different ways. Hicks, 54, is rarely mentioned, unlike its predecessor, Joe Browne and don't use Twitter, although members of his staff. Atallah, 32, has become a public personality due to labor dispute; He uses Twitter regularly and frequently is interviewed.

"I have a responsibility to make sure that side players is portrayed accurately and the media to be credible source of information," said Atallah, who has a support staff of six. "Commitment leads to Player commitment of fan".

The Union has asked supporters to lobby Congress, sign petitions and combine with players ' Let us play day "earlier this month to claim that there is no block.

Atallah is Hicks had previously worked in public relations firms. Atallah was hired by Smith in 2009 by Qorvis Communications. Hicks arrived at the summer League from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, taking a position that traditionally went to an insider of the League, or a former sportswriter.

"Paul was here for five months," said Browne, now a senior adviser, "Goodell and there are very few half-truths that the Union has put out that we have not answered."

Doug Allen, a former official of the players Union, said that in 2006, when there were talks strained that led to the extension of the labor agreement, the Union had a modest Web site.

"We've done a little, but without social media," he said. Now, with both sides better equipped (only the Union uses Facebook), he added, "alters the atmosphere, but I'm not sure that will change the leverage on both sides. It would be, if you were making a side and the other was not. "

In fact, the digital and back covers, 140 characters at a time, the gap that exists behind closed doors between negotiators over revenue sharing (the League wants to share less); the season 18-game proposal and its impact on the health of players with two extra games; the urgency (or absence) of talks and rejection of the League to leave the Union look at her books.

"A while ago, ' Atallah, said," the N.F.L. did some post about there not being enough meetings — we don't want to meet — and there happened to be in a meeting at the time. So tweeted. "

Every day, online exchanges and what competitive may appear either substantial or silly. Regardless, there is a sense that the League and the Union have learned from politics and the need to respond to the positions of their opponent. Web site of the League on Wednesday offered a glimpse of its strategy. A press call of Goodell Tuesday, a fan of Denver Broncos and blogger; another post cited Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the, as saying that the League is "ready to do whatever it takes" to reach a new agreement, but that the Union should "step up with the same sense of urgency."

A section of the Web site of Union block has a clock counting down to the date of expiry of the agreement, and links to articles and posts to Twitter that favor her position.

Successful strategies online, however, cannot be easily measured. William b. Gould IV, Professor of law at Stanford University and a former President of the National Labor Relations Board, said that the League and the MTFs view online about the issues that are easily comprehensible to football fans.

"You're trumpeting their positions to the public," he said. "But my sense is that this stuff does not fundamentally change things in disputes that are difficult to solve."

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