UPIC (6) Sports Plans

Now that we have a full list of multemployer plans let’s see how the pensions of the highest paid class of union employees are faring.

5500 data for these plans:




  • NHL and ABA plans show no retirees so presumably annuities are purchased when players hit retirement age.
  • NBA coaches plan is code 1I starting in 2011 meaning benefit accruals were frozen around 2010 though they did well while benefits were accruing:


Pensions & Investments earlier this year had a positive story on the NFL plan claiming:

The $1.8 billion Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, Baltimore, named after the first two NFL commissioners, saw its funding ratio plummet to 48% in 2013, but for a good cause: taking better care of retired players.

The plan, which was 55.9% funded as of April 2014, the latest data available, is on track to be almost fully funded before the current collective bargaining agreement ends in post-season 2020, said Miki Yaras-Davis, senior director of benefits with the NFLPA. In the context of multiemployer plans, it should reach the healthy “green” zone status of at least 80% funded by April 2017, she said.

P&I chose to focus on the line 4b item for which the actuaries are free to pick an interest rate (7.25% here):


At 29.19% the NFL plan is indeed a headache and would be severely distressed were not the NFL able to double their contributions beginning with the 3/31/14 plan year.  This distinguishes the NFL situation from that of the vast majority of multiemployer plans and ALL public pension plans who cannot double their contributions so they must seek other methods.

In the case of multiemployer plans it’s getting a law passed that allows benefit cuts.

For public pension plans – more twiddling.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on December 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Nothing changes for the better. Any borrowed money to make pension payments also use interest from pensions to pay for borrowing. And, borrowing is the only way NJ will have pension payment money. Seems interest will be greater for these loans than interest earned, too?

    Still like that ABP described by ‘joel’. earlier. Can it be ‘ retro’d’ as a TX town is trying to do?


  2. Posted by Theodore Konshak on December 5, 2016 at 8:43 am

    The analogy of the NFL Plan to other multiemployer pension is not a good one. When I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the football players would rent houses and live in the same neighborhoods as the paper mill workers. Center Jim Ringo rented and lived in a crummy old house not far from us. Legend has it that Jim Ringo asked Vince Lombardi for a raise and traded him to Philadelphia. Sounds more like a George Halas story. There is a sentiment that the highly paid professional football players of today owe something to the old timers that built the game and who were paid comparably very little. The actively employed participants in other multiemployer pension plans don’t similarly owe something to the old timers. And these actively employed participants in multiemployer pension plans are not paid the wages of professional football players.


  3. Posted by George on December 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    “presumably annuities are purchased”

    Would that be part of a solution for NJ?


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