While I’m going to guess that many of you Colliegettes either a) don’t care about basketball and/or b) are possibly unaware that there is an NBA lockout, the lockout may have a greater impact on this country than you think. Besides the obvious lack of basketball games, where this week would have normally been the second week of the season, the economic impact could potentially be quite damaging if it does not end in the upcoming weeks. While the lockout has by default given the NHL more fans, well, let’s call them bandwagon fans, thus increasing ticket sales, the rest of America has not been as fortunate.
The restaurant and bar industry will begin to suffer. Restaurants and sports bars are filled with avid basketball fans during both home and away games. Friends and family frequent these places to watch the game together, have a few drinks, and eat a meal. Well, with the lack of NBA games, 82 to be exact if the lockout lasts the entire season, businesses will begin to lose immense amounts of revenue. Sports bars especially depend on this revenue to stay in business, and with the lack of visitors during basketball games, they may have a difficult time staying open. Bartenders and waiters have even begun to quit their jobs and have their hours significantly cut. As one pizza shop owner in Boston says, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the millionaires versus the billionaires, and the ‘thousandaires’ are the ones who are hurting, The people who work in the arenas, around the arenas, are the ones who are going to lose out.”
Cities where the NBA team is the only sports franchise have even more to lose. Of the 30 NBA teams, seven teams play in cities where they are the only sports franchise, which include Memphis, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Utah. The part-time employees at these arenas are now struggling to make ends meet and the local economies are losing millions and millions per year. In bigger market areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, concert acts and other entertainment shows are more likely to come to these markets, and even extend shows to two nights. These extensions could make up for lost revenues in the big markets, however smaller markets such as Memphis or Sacramento struggle to even have concerts for just one night. Also, in single sports franchise cities, there is less to do sporting event-wise. As the 2004-2005 NHL lockout proved, cities with more than one sports franchise saw an increase in attendance in other local sporting events, thus not having as large of an impact on the local economy.
So yes, while the NBA lockout is difficult for basketball fans to endure, we must also remember that it is difficult for the economy. Today, when the economy is not at its best and America is struggling as a whole with the job market, the NBA lockout is preventing our country from fully recovering from the recession. Here’s to hoping that the NBA returns very soon, allowing sports fans and the economy to move forward.