NFL Owners Approve Labor Deal to End Lockout

Owners ratify the deal 31-0 and must wait on the players

National Football League owners ratified a labor deal Thursday that will end the lockout next week — as long as the players reform their union and approve the deal.

If the players take those steps, it would stop the four-month lockout and permit the NFL season to start on time. That is good news to all those involved, especially the TV networks that want those tens of millions of viewers to keep tuning in.

For the networks, a deal protects billions of dollars in revenues. NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN all carry games, with receipts from ads totaling 3 billion for the 2009-2010 season.

The owners approved the deal in a 31-0 vote with only Oakland Raiders’ Al Davis abstaining.

For everything to be finalized, the players must approve the deal and demonstrate that a majority of them have signed union authorization cards.

Haggling over the collective bargaining agreement would still need to take place, but if the two sides do not come to a deal by then, the current terms will remain unchanged for 10 more years.