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Lockout Impact Depends on Location

Two months ago, during the cries of wolf from some corners of the hockey community that the lockout would be certain death for businesses who depended on the NHL and the crowds it brings as a main source of revenue, Chemmy posted a link to a study out of the University in Maryland from back in 2000 that stated that professional sports work stoppages "had no impact on the economies of cities with franchises".

This was immediately scoffed as by many as being "out of date" and not applicable to hockey. Fortunately for these skeptics, Moneris® Solutions, Canada's largest credit and debit card processor, has come out with a study of the impact the current NHL Lockout is having on businesses within NHL cities; the results of which were posted in an article on the Sacramento Bee's website.

...restaurants and drinking establishments near NHL hockey arenas in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal and Calgary have experienced a sharp overall decrease of -11.23 per cent in spending in 2012, compared to a game day in 2011.

Drinking establishments in close proximity to hockey arenas have reported the most significant decrease in spending, at -34.68 per cent, compared to a game day in 2011. Fast food businesses and restaurants have experienced a decrease in overall dollars spent of -6.93 per cent and -10.54 per cent, respectively, compared to a game day in 2011.

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Aha! many will exclaim, before reading the entire article. A spending decrease of 11.23%! Woe is the NHL arena waitress!

However the article goes on to say:

Overall spending at drinking establishments outside the arena vicinity on a game day is up significantly, with an 18.93 per cent increase in dollars spent, compared to a game day in 2011. Spending at fast food businesses and restaurants outside the arena vicinity on a game day is also up 11.54 per cent and 4.86 per cent, respectively, which is in line with data from Moneris' Spending Report for Q3 in 2012. In fact, both fast food establishments and restaurants have experienced 11.44 per cent and 4.84 per cent increases in spending during Q3, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

"While overall spending at establishments near hockey arenas is down, it would appear that Canadians are simply choosing to stick closer to home," said Jim Baumgartner, President and CEO, Moneris Solutions.

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That's an 18.93% increase in dollars spent at establishments outside of immediate NHL arena areas. How's that possible? Probably because some 20,000 odd people aren't attending an NHL game and buying concessions there, the proceeds of which go into the pockets of billionaires instead of the local restauranteur, among other factors.

So just like the study from the University of Maryland said, microcosm's like the immediate surrounding area of an NHL arena are seeing a decrease in revenue during the lockout, but the NHL cities on the whole are seeing no change in spending whatsoever.

This is yet another piece of ammunition for those who rightly oppose publicly funded sporting complexes. Seems like these cities are doing better off without hockey than they are with it.

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