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The National Hockey League and its players union have come to a deal to end their nearly four-month lockout. 

Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, says the deal reduces some guarantees of player salaries, and that could mean as much as $230 million more for team owners every year. That is, if fans keep attending and spending at their current levels. 

Zimbalist expects this season's remaining games will be well attended in the so-called hockey towns of the Northeast and Canada, and for owners to recoup losses from the lockout over time. In the end, he says, we learned that owners still have a lot of power in professional sports leagues.

To hear more of Zimbalist's thoughts on the spate of lockouts in professional sports, click on the audio player above. 

 

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Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich