Football is back!

I couldn't tell you how excited I was to hear that I was going to have something to watch for the next 20 Sundays and that my hopes for a fantasy football championship repeat weren't dashed. I can even pull out my Detroit Lions swag and root on my favorite team -- even though they haven't seen the playoffs in a long, long time.

Football time also means relief for many businesses out there that stood the chance of losing millions of dollars if the NFL lockout wiped out any portion of the preseason or regular season. Here are a few sectors and the companies within them that stand to benefit the most from the NFL lockout ending.

  • Media
    No company had more at stake to lose from the NFL lockout than DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV). The company's Sunday Ticket satellite package with the NFL allows users who buy the package to view every NFL game. Through these subscriptions, DIRECTV is able to generate an estimated $600 million to $750 million in annual subscription revenue. This also doesn't factor in another $100 million in potential advertising revenue during NFL broadcasts. Considering that NFL games accounted for nearly two-thirds of the highest rated sports events in 2010, this was a crucial win for DIRECTV and its shareholders. Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI) can also breathe a sigh of relief since it locked in a five-year deal for exclusive play-by-play coverage in December.
  • Food
    It's tough to just pick a few names here, because we all know what happens when you give a group of guys a big screen TV and a few beers -- they eat, endlessly. That's what makes eateries like Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD) and national pizza chains like Papa John's easy picks to benefit from the end of the lockout. And nothing goes better with football Sundays than an ice-cold beer. I'm certain domestic beer giants Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) are breathing a sigh of relief following today's agreement. Don't forget -- Bud Light is the official sponsor for the NFL.
  • Apparel
    Apparel is big business in the NFL. Nike (NYSE: NKE) recently inked a deal to become the NFL's official apparel company beginning in 2012. This is Reebok's last year as the NFL's official apparel company, and it stood to lose millions if the NFL season was lost. Even retail outlets stand to gain from the return of the NFL, including Foot Locker (NYSE: FL), whose Champs Sports and namesake footwear locations will likely see a boost in sales.
  • Television
    Possibly the only thing propping up television sales and pricing is the pigskin effect. I would hardly call the seemingly endless decline in prices for televisions a bullish scenario, but the return of football definitely gives electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) room to crack a smile. While electronic retailers don't often see a major boost in sales until later in the season -- specifically closer to Super Bowl Sunday -- this should be a relief for the company's shareholders who have recently endured sluggish TV sales.

Excessive celebration
Throw the flag now, because I'm not shy about my love for football -- and my lowly Lions. I'm also not oblivious to the money-making machine that is the National Football League. These sectors can rest easy now that they won't be losing millions in revenue, and that the above companies are preparing to enter their bread-and-butter sales periods.

Can stocks and football truly co-exist? I believe so. But I'd love to hear your take on the issue. Does the NFL influence your stock-picking decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.