Lockout looms for NHL
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012 9:48AM MDT
A potential NHL lockout is a mere four days away and hockey fans in Calgary are feeling the heat.
The session in New York on Wednesday was hastily put together after the NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly heard that both sides were to blame for the lack of communication.
The last meeting was on Friday.
The last time they discussed anything was nearly two weeks ago.
The union will be meeting on Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday while the board of governors will meet on Thursday.
The NHL is threatening to lock out the players if there’s no new agreement by midnight eastern time on Saturday, when the current deal expires.
Calgary businesses are already worried there won’t be an NHL season at all.
They all count on the boost in customers that come when there are game nights.
Stores selling Flames souvenirs and jerseys expect to feel the impact and cab drivers say they'll lose a lot of business if there aren't fans to shuttle around.
“Lets be honest, it is gonna impact the business,” says Dave Fida of Melrose Café & Bar. “We're gonna be missing that. Being in the city, down the street from the ‘Dome, it is a big key component to our business so it is gonna impact us in a negative way.”
Tim Murphy, manager of a restaurant nearby the Rogers Arena in Vancouver says that he’s already started to lay off staff.
He’s already had to let three people go and expects to cut more from his staff if the season is locked out.
“We do have some other concerts and events, but there's no mistake that hockey is our business here," Murphy said.
Norm O’Reilly, a sports marketing professor at the University of Ottawa, says another lockout wouldn’t just hurt bars and restaurants, but could threaten the league as a whole.
While the hard-core fans will always come back and fill the stands, that's not the whole picture, he says.
And as baseball hat, T-shirt and jersey sales as well as sponsorship deals become a larger and larger piece of the revenue pie compared with ticket sales, it is the more casual fans that may never attend a game that can make the difference.
"They may notice a decrease in television rights, and they may notice less following on websites, and they may notice a decrease in merchandise sales and less support of sponsors products," he said of teams if the season is killed.
"And as the NHL becomes more like the NFL and the bigger leagues who are less reliant on gate revenues and more reliant on media and marketing revenues, then those impacts become greater and greater."
The current collective agreement that is set to expire was signed in July 2005.
That deal ended a dispute that saw the league become the first in North America to wipe out an entire season due to a work stoppage.
If there is a lockout, bar managers in Calgary say they'll focus their promotions on other sports like football, soccer, and ultimate fighting.
With files from CTVNews.ca and CTVBC.ca