Gregg Clifton, a sports business attorney and sports agent with the Phoenix law offices of Jackson Lewis LLP, said sponsors often have provisions built into their contracts with the league or individual teams allowing them to put payments on hold if a lockout or strike cancels games.

Clifton said NFL sponsors have been talking intensely to legal counsel recently about their contracts and financial obligations should a lockout occur.

Salt River Project Associate General Manager Mark Bonsall said the utility has been a Cardinals sponsor for 20 years.

“Typically, our sponsorship agreements have provisions that allow for additional opportunities in the event any are not realized due to a ‘force majeure’ situation of any sort,” he said. “Those provisions have never been needed.”

Clifton expects to see a lockout at least until summer, but he doesn’t anticipate that team or league sponsors will dump their agreements because of football’s massive television ratings and popularity.

“You don’t want to be left out of the National Football League,” he said.

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