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Kraft tackling league issues

Posted by Albert Breer  May 24, 2010 09:56 PM

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And if you want to go further down the line, as far as growth goes, another topic to be mulled here will be the expansion of the regular season to 18 games.

That certainly won't be voted on, but it's likely to come up. Kraft said that the earliest it could be implemented was the 2012 season and, when the time comes, he'll back the idea.

"I think that’ll help us secure a new labor arrangement," Kraft said. "We have to look for ways to generate more revenue and have our cost structure reflect what we’d like to do. We have a 20-game schedule now, so it’s going to stay at 20 games. It’s just that we’ll have two preseason games. I think our season-ticket holders will like it better. I think in the end, it’ll make for a better season."

And as for the notion that more injuries will follow ...

"It’s the same season, it’s 20 games," Kraft said. "It’s a function of how much players play in the preseason. We actually have statistics show that at the end of the year – second half of the season and in the playoffs – there are actually less injuries than there are in the beginning of the year.

"I can understand the concern, and if any of them would like to take a reduction in pay … It’s just a matter of you can’t have it all ways. If you want to see your salaries grow than you have to do things that allow the revenues to grow."

Then, there was the elephant in the hotel lobby here -- The labor situation. Union chief DeMaurice Smith warned fans again of the possibility of a lockout during a live chat on the PA's Web site yesterday.

But Kraft remained more optimistic.

"Look, we’re gonna have a labor deal eventually," Kraft said. "It’s a question of when. There’ll be a lot of noise. Since the last labor deal, we generated $3.6 billion in new revenue, and $2.6 billion went to the players, plus another $200 million. Ownership collectively had $200 million greater expenses on this last revenue drawn. We can’t continue that and continue to invest in the business."

We have plenty more from Kraft coming, so keep it locked here for that, and more from the meetings as they get going in earnest tomorrow.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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