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Volume 20 No. 46
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With labor peace, leagues have opportunity to grow

As we break down the year in sports business, nothing, nothing, came close to dominating the year like the labor talks that affected the NFL, NBA and MLB. Labor was pervasive throughout 2011, starting in January leading up to the Super Bowl and through Sunday, when the NBA returns after missing two months because of its lockout.

There was a sense of foreboding about labor relations entering 2011, that we could be upon a pivotal moment in the continued growth of sports. At times, it seemed the future business models — and more importantly, working relations — were in peril. In the end, thankfully, the labor issues won’t affect the base of these leagues. We’ve seen the NFL come back just as strong as it was pre-lockout, and I believe the NBA will see healthy TV ratings Sunday that will carry on through its abbreviated season. There was residual damage, of course: people didn’t work, tickets and merchandise didn’t move. But the most compelling part is this: With long-term labor peace, the leagues must try to grow their business and mine new revenue. That’s the fun part, right? And that’s what I’ll be watching.

Everyone at SportsBusiness Journal/Daily wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season. We’ll see you in 2012.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at