by Jesse Muhammad for The Final Call Newspaper
(FinalCall.com) - There were five months of war between billionaire and millionaire owners and players in the National Basketball Association but it looks as if basketball fans worldwide will get to see their favorite stars return to the hardwood on highly commercialized Christmas day. The lockout is ending.
“It seems that the owners planned to start the season on Christmas all along and dragged the players through this lockout to get more money out of the deal. It was a business strategy. This is a game of money,” Exavier Pope, a Chicago-based sports and entertainment attorney, told The Final Call.
At one point it looked as if the entire 2011-2012 season would be completely cancelled. Some sports analysts even hinted that this was the end of the league.
NBA Commissioner David Stern even gave the players a “take it or leave it” message but the players’ association, directed by Atty. Billy Hunter, refused to back down. As parties agree on final terms, the season looks to have a schedule missing 16 games from a normal 82-game regular season. Who will ultimately be the winner? Owners? Players? Fans? Although the final details of the agreement were in line for inking and approval at Final Call press time, according to Mr. Pope, players could ultimately lose as much as eight percent of NBA basketball related income to owners, amounting to about $2.5 billion. The deal will also help some teams in struggling markets and the league will now be in a position to take advantage of millions in holiday advertising dollars.
“Christmas time is usually when everyone starts truly paying attention to the NBA anyway and that’s why Christmas is the largest day for NBA advertisers and generates major revenue. That will help the league make up for money they lost. It’s all strategy and the owners know that,” said Mr. Pope, who is also a legal analyst and blogger.
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