That’s right, after all the fighting between various groups that was highlighted in several posts here at the blog, the NBA owners and players association has come to a handshake deal after a 15 hour bargaining session lasting Friday and Saturday morning. If the deal is accepted (they only have a handshake deal at the moment), the league is scheduled to begin play on December 25th, Christmas Day. Reports coming in are saying that the first game will be a rematch of the finals, with Dallas playing Miami. I don’t know if it the Holiday season that got the two groups together again to get a deal, but the owners are claiming that it wasn’t time or the calendar which was forcing them to get things done. Really, it seems that the mounting financial pressures on both sides was what really helped get to the point where they are at now. As ProBasketballTalk (NBC Sports) notes, the owners were not looking forward to losing an entire season of revenue, and the players were not looking forward to losing an entire season of salary.
So now that it looks like the NBA will be back, there is still the question of how long it will take for fans to get back into the league. Research shows that attendance and fan interest in professional sport leagues tends to drop off after the league goes through a lockout. And this was no short lockout, it lasted 149 days, and was the end point of almost two years of negotiations. The NBA looks to overcome one big hurdle, but the new obstacle which may cause a drop in revenues is the lack of interest from consumers. I’ll be curious to see how many people show up to games once it starts back up.