How the NHL Lockout effects the Local Economy

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I’m not going to lie to you:  I don’t like hockey.  I’ll say I’m a Pens fan if I have to choose, but I just can’t get into the sport in general.  Trust me, I’ve tried.

That being said, I find the what the NHL lockout is doing to our local economy fascinating.  And tragic.  We’re a sports town for sure.  Right now we have football going on.  In spring and summer we get excited about the Pirates.  (By fall our team plays so poorly we reveal just how fair-weather our bucco enthusiasm is.)  But hockey fills in the rest of the year.  There are so many games played, and the season is so much longer.  We don’t have any pro basketball in this town, and despite how great they are or are not, Pitt’s collegiate team just can’t fill that gap.

So the NHL plays a real role in our economy.  This year, it is estimated that for every game NOT played, Pittsburgh’s losing $2.2 million dollars.  (Source.)  Holy.  Moly.  Let’s see where that money is lost.

The Obvious

Stadium ushers are getting screwed.  No hockey means no job.  No job means no money.  The holidays are quick approaching.

Stadium ushers aren’t the only ones directly effected.  Think parking lot attendants.  Security guards. Food vendors in the Consol Energy Center. Zamboni drivers.  Heck, even ticket scalpers. There’s a lot of people on the ground that will be having a hard time this winter unless something gets resolved.

The Travel Industry

I remember when we had the Winter Classic here.  New Year’s Eve and a bunch of Capitals fans were all up on Grandview screaming about how great their team was.  Annoyed as I was, those people travelling to Pittsburgh, staying at Pittsburgh hotels, riding around in Pittsburgh cabs, and buying food and beer at Pittsburgh establishments were bringing in tons of cash.  The Winter Classic may be the pinnacle of attraction as far as NHL games are concerned, but we get a smaller amount of tourists for every game.  And now that money simply isn’t coming in.

The Food Service Industry

So out-of-towners aren’t buying food and drink here.  But neither are as many locals.  This puts a big dent in business at local bars and restaurants, and the owners aren’t the only ones effected.  Your bartender?  Poorer.  Your waitress?  Poorer.  The pizza delivery guy?  Poorer.  So if you happen to be somewhere where you are patronizing the food service industry, remember to tip well.  Obscenely rich people not getting along are screwing with that person’s holiday budget.  Or maybe even rent.

Television

The games aren’t airing on any networks.  So none of the networks are advertising.  Which means they’re not making money off of those advertisers.  On top of that, many advertisers aren’t even able to sell as much of their product.  Molson Coors is even suing the NHL over this very issue.  (Source.)

As much as it’s affecting Pittsburgh, I can only imagine how bad it must be for Canadian economies right now.

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25 thoughts on “How the NHL Lockout effects the Local Economy

    1. femmefrugality

      If you don’t live in a hockey town and you’re not a fan, it would be easy to have it slip under your radar. Around here it’s a major issue, though. I’m with you on getting it figured out soon!

      Reply
  1. Grayson @ Debt Roundup

    This lockout has made me angry. I live in Raleigh, with the Carolina Hurricanes. There are not many things that will take up the space of the NHL for our arena, so it just sits there doing nothing. Lockouts hurt the mid-market teams the most.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      First of all, I’m absolutely in love with your city. Used to go to the arts festival every year. (By far my favorite one that a city hosts.) That’s a shame that the the arena is sitting empty; maybe an opportunity to get more big concerts to come in? You guys have got to be hurting bad this time of year, though. Hope they get it figured out soon for you or that collegiate basketball is able to somehow fill in the gaps come their season.

      Reply
  2. Mo Money Mo Houses

    I’ve got to say, since I’m not a big hockey fan, I don’t really mind that there’s no hockey. People in Vancouver are so crazy about their hockey so it’s kind of nice for a change. Though I do bet lots of money has been lost because of it.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Haha I hear you…my opinions are duplicitous. I recognize the need for the lockout to end so our economy can benefit, but I definitely am not minding missing being forced to sit through the games. Like I said, I want to like hockey. I just can’t make myself.

      Reply
  3. Janine

    Basically, we are all just sitting here being really really bored….. hahaha I miss hockey so much! Grew up in a family that definitely loves hockey! I don’t even want to think about how much money we are losing -$$$$$ =(

    Reply
  4. Catherine (Plunged in Debt)

    Know what else sucks?!..being married to a professional NHL Blogger…lack of Hockey means blog is taking a MAJOR stats hit plus limited content to write about…It’s his side job so it’s not like our income is seriously affected but it SUCKS.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      That does suck! I never even considered that field. Is he still writing on what’s going on with the lockout because of the lack of play? If so, give me the link and I’ll do an edit to feature him in this post.

      Reply
  5. Meredith

    I learn something every time I check in here–I never even thought about any of this…but you’re so right. The impact of this on the economy is huge and far-reaching.

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

    Honestly I did not even realize this until M. mentioned it to me in passing a few nights ago. I was flabbergasted. The financial implications of this are certainly bleak. (One of our players went to the Olympics so our city is stunned and in mourning, ha!)

    Reply
  7. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    The bars suffer the most here, it has a huge knock-on effect in the economy! A lot of games are Pay Per View, so people go out to the bar instead of watching them at home. Plus all the regular going to the bar to watch a game. Another thing that’s lacking is television advertisement revenue, because the sports networks don’t have the viewers, so can’t bring in the ad money.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      EXACTLY! Even if the games aren’t pay per view, a lot of them are only available on cable. So a lot of people still go to the sports bars. Or they go just to be social. The advertising revenue is huge, too. Enough to spark a law suit.

      Reply
  8. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    We have been experiencing the same negative effects. It took us 15 years to get an NHL team back. We finally got one but not having any action this year is hurting us. The economy was booming last year when our team was playing.Now things have come to a hault. I really do feel bad for the workers that are out of work right now.

    Reply
  9. CF @ OutlierModel

    This is definitely true. When we go to a hockey game in Vancouver, we often grab a beer beforehand at a local bar. At the game, we might get a snack and a drink. Afterwards, we catch the bus home, like 15,000 other people. That’s a lot of money to remove from the system.

    Reply

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