CLEVELAND -- Bill Ford's business experience and track record in helping lead the Ford Motor Co.'s dramatic turnaround will be put to use in a key new role in the National Football League.
Ford, vice chairman of the Lions and executive chairman of the automobile company founded by his great grandfather Henry Ford, has been appointed to the NFL's Broadcasting Committee.
The appointment was made public Thursday, as the Lions prepared to play their second preseason game against the Browns.
The Broadcasting Committee is one of the league's most important and powerful committees and is made up of some of its most influential owners.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is the committee chairman. Other members are Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Steve Bisciotti (Ravens), Pat Bowlen (Broncos), Woody Johnson (Jets), Stan Kroenke (Rams), Jeffrey Lurie (Eagles) and Dan Snyder (Redskins).
Among other things, the Broadcasting Committee negotiates the TV contracts that fund player salaries and have helped keep the NFL America's most popular sports entertainment enterprise.
Current Commissioner Roger Goodell and past Commissioner Paul Tagliabue have sought Ford's advice because of his experience with the auto company, including negotiations on labor contracts.
There is a touch of irony to the timing of Ford's new position being released before the Lions-Browns game.
The late Art Modell, former owner of the Browns, has been credited for early on leading negotiations with the TV networks which set the template for future contracts and and spurred he league's enormous financial growth and popularity.