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March 22, 2022

Chicken wing biz terrified of extended NFL lockout

Last week’s Sports Illustrated  featured some shocking figures on the NFL and what an extended lockout might mean – not just for players and owners.

1264365_wing_chicken According to the magazine’s graphic, a single NFL game generates some $20 million in local economic activity and, if there is no 2011 season, about 100,000 stadium workers might be out of work.

Daunting numbers? No doubt, but the latest victim to cry fowl – er, foul – over a possible NFL work stoppage is the chicken wing industry, who says a lockout “would kill wings. It would be terrible on wings.”

Indeed, those are the apocryphal words of Sanderson Farms chief exec Joe Sanderson, forecasting how his biz might fare if football does not kick off this September as usual.

Currently, NFL owners have locked out their players over disagreements on league pay and profit sharing, among other issues. On April 6, a federal court will hear an antitrust suit filed by NFL players.

There’s no telling what a football stoppage might mean for other related industries, but the wing sector may be especially hurt after soaring business last year.

According to Reuters, demand was so high for wings during last year’s NFL season, Sanderson Farms could hardly keep up with distribution.

Now, as the threat of an extended lockout looms, chicken wing prices are plummeting.

Ahead of the 2010 Super Bowl, wholesale wings went for $1.74 per pound in Georgia, for instance. At this year’s Super Bowl, those same wings cost $1.04 per pound and, as demand continues to sink, can now be had for only 95 cent per pound, by U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers.

Obviously, such a chicken wing catastrophe will be prominent on the bargaining table when players and owners meet next.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...