NBA delay will cause big economic ripples

A fan poses with tickets to opening night between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center on Oct. 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Kai Ryssdal: There's another jobs story out there today, albeit one that's not going to get sympathy from a whole lot of people, at least at the headline level.

Professional basketball players are going to be getting some unwanted bench time. Last night, NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the regular season. Owners and players haven't been able to come to terms on a revenue-sharing deal.

Which means less revenue all the way down basketball's economic food chain. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles can hold almost 20,000 people. Without a game, that's lot of folks who won't be stopping by Casey's Irish Pub, just a few blocks from the arena.

Jeff Marino: We're going to lose a lot of business due to this.

General manager Jeff Marino says lost Lakers and Clippers games equals lost revenue.

Marino: It's going to be a couple thousand dollars a game. And at three or four games a week, that adds up.

Restaurants next to Staples Center also see a lot more business on game nights. Take the Polynesian-themed Trader Vic's. John Valencia is one of the restaurant's partners.

John Valencia: We normally will do between $25,000 to $30,000 on one of those Laker nights, depending on who they're hosting.

John Blank is deputy chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. In adding up the economic impact of an NBA game, he counts about $200,000 in concession sales, plus meals at nearby restaurants.

John Blank: If you add $10 on average to parking, is another $200,000. So what I get is $800,000 in a back-of-the-envelope type of calculation.

That's $800,000 in direct economic impact from one single sold-out game. That's excluding ticket revenue, which is divvied up between owners and players, so it doesn't really trickle down.

Blank says fans can use the money they save on tickets to support the local economy beyond Staples Center.

In Los Angeles, I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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