2012 NBA Season: There Was No Way They Wouldn't Play

Derek CrouseContributor IIINovember 28, 2011

The money and the power, the NBA heads of state
The money and the power, the NBA heads of statePatrick McDermott/Getty Images

The NBA lockout is officially over because there was too much money at stake.

Owners and players have decided to begin the NBA season on Christmas. Fans can now talk about execution on the court and not the extinction of the sport.

Owners were up in arms declaring that some franchises were in the red from a profit standpoint. While some of the bottom tier teams might have been losing money, the popularity of last year’s NBA season was at an all-time high from a TV ratings standpoint.

It was very strategic to get everybody to sign on the dotted line during Thanksgiving weekend.

Like politicians, the NBA doesn’t want to have any negative PR coming its way if it can avoid it. Having big news break on a weekend when many people don’t read newspapers or watch television helps immensely to soften the blow.

It’s akin to the adage of a tree falling in the woods when nobody is around. Even though we have the news at our fingertips in this era, we tend to let headlines go by the wayside when we are in a tryptophan coma all weekend.

Not all fans are lining up fantasy rosters or calling sports radio shows during the preseasons of major sports either. The casual fan waits until August for baseball, November for football and December for basketball.

Like with Major League Baseball, there are so many games (though not this year) on the NBA schedule that it gives the initial part of the season less value. Now that the season is going to be condensed into 66 games, each game has more of an effect on the playoffs and All-Star balloting. Now there won’t be teams coasting until the All-Star break, which is a major benefit of the lockout.

Thanks to players like Derek Fisher, Derrick Rose can get back on the court
Thanks to players like Derek Fisher, Derrick Rose can get back on the courtJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NBA has been known for years to start really pushing its product on Christmas, when it shows high-profile games on network television. This year is not an exception. Honestly, having the season start on Christmas might create even more hype.

When the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers face off after everybody has opened their presents, the ratings will show that people did not care about the lockout. The season is here and that is what matters at the end of the day for the majority of fans.

Do you think that owners might have also been considering the current shopping season? What if the NBA still didn’t have a deal right now? Would the league have lost any profit on Cyber Monday at NBA.com? The answer is yes, and I think that was a major part of why negotiations moved quickly when the Christmas deadline was around the corner.

If you go to the NBA's website, the league is pushing Chicago Bulls, L.A. Lakers and Miami Heat gear like a used car salesman. What most people don’t realize is that the business of sports is the heart of the game, not the game itself.

This is a billion-dollar business as well as a gifted brotherhood of athletes.

Now that the NBA has the lockout in the rear-view mirror, it can do what it does best—push star power over team popularity. In a league in which players move around so frequently, that is the best blueprint to make money.

Young stars like Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and John Wall will be marketed heavily. The free agency onslaught that occurred in 2011 led to an NBA playoffs that reached the same television ratings as in the Jordan era.

Even though LeBron James and Kobe Bryant didn’t take the title home, they still shadow Dirk Nowitzki from an appeal standpoint.

It would have been bad business to let all of that momentum from last year go by the wayside, and professional sports leagues are a business before anything.

There was no way the players and owners would have risked so much over a couple of percentage points.