NBA Back on Track

The National Basketball Association and its players have reached a tentative labor agreement that will settle the antitrust lawsuit and open a 66-game season on December 25.

The original NBA schedule included the following Christmas Day games: Dallas Mavericks vs the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks against the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls playing the Los Angeles Lakers.

After NBA players and owners ratified a deal on Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern said the league will open training camps and free agency on Dec. 9.

In a news conference, Stern said,

“We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25.”

Terms of the proposed settlement included a 51.2 percent of basketball-related income during the 2011-12 season to the players and future revenue splits will be based on income projections rising or falling above a mid-point. According to a Bloomberg story, last season the NBA’s revenue was approximately $4.3 billion.

In addition, there are also 11 issues that the league will now operate under including salary-cap exceptions, player options, salaries and rookie wages. After the litigation settlement is approved, the association will again form as a union and negotiations on collective bargaining agreement issues will start.

The previous agreement had expired on July 1 and the regular NBA season of play had been scheduled to be start on Nov. 1. The last time the NBA had lost regular-season games came from the 1998-99 season’s work stoppage, which cut the season to 50 games from 82 after an agreement wasn’t reached until January 1999.

Here are a few companies excited to see the season back on track: Madison Square Garden Inc. (NASDAQ:MSG), Anheuser-Busch Inc.(NYSE:BUD), and Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE), as well as News Corp.(NASDAQ:NWSA), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), CBS Corp.(NYSE:CBS), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) all of which broadcast NBA games on their networks, which include Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, and ESPN.