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Hockey lockout, again, hurts small businesses

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Kai Ryssdal: It’s less than a month until the start of the National Hockey League season, but if the past couple of days are any indication nobody’s going to be lacing up their skates any time soon.

Negotiations in the two-day-old NHL lockout seem to be going nowhere. A shame for fans, sure. A public relations problem for players and owners, absolutely. But it’s a real pinch for governments and businesses that make money off the game. 

Mark Garrison has the story.

Mark Garrison: Let’s start with one community where we’ve got hard data. Michael N’Dolo is with the economic development consultancy Camoin Associates. He recently looked at the impact of the New York Islanders. His forecast is grim if the season is lost.

Michael N’Dolo: We would estimate that a total of about $62 million of spending would be lost to the county.

Also, about 1,000 jobs, including those at hotels, restaurants and sporting goods stores. And that’s just the Long Island impact.

Brad Rosen co-owns Sports World in Chicago. He’s worried about goods gathering dust.

Brad Rosen: I got to imagine it’s gonna cut my business in half for Blackhawks as it is until the season starts. And then, if they were to cancel the whole season, it’s gonna take years to come back as it did last time.

He’s at least lucky that hockey jersey maker Reebok is giving him something of a break. Normally, Rosen has to pay for merchandise within 30 days. But now, he doesn’t owe Reebok until a month after the lockout ends.

But that’s no help if you’re selling burgers and beer. Rick Medina is bar manager at Edison Ale House, right beside the New Jersey Devils arena.

Rick Medina: I think it’s definitely gonna hurt us. Devils fans are very loyal to their team. They come in here, spend their money, have a good time and we’re definitely gonna miss that.

If there’s no NHL season, there’s still business from concerts and other events. But Medina knows hockey fans put away a lot more beer than people attending Disney on Ice. If Mickey and Goofy are the only stars strapping on skates, it’s gonna be a tough year for a lot of businesses.

In New York, I’m Mark Garrison for Marketplace.

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