Shocker: NHL lockout is ravaging businesses near arenas
NHL players and owners are back negotiating again in New York, and wouldn’t you know it the latest reports have floated some optimism that the season might be saved.
Fine, like you lost interest reading that first sentence, don’t think it was much easier to type. Hockey is among the world’s worst conversation topics today, the sport having been reduced to a putrid dialogue about dollars, TV contracts and public posturing. Wake us up when someone’s back on the ice.
Yet all throughout the yet-to-be NHL season, we’ve always heard, though rarely in quantified terms, how much the lockout was hurting more than just the players. It was, supposedly, severing business to every bar owner and memorabilia dealer that relied on the game.
Now, we get a sense of who it’s hurting, and by just how much.
According to a new report, the NHL lockout is having a resounding impact on restaurants and merchants who make their bucks near hockey arenas.
Credit and debit card processor Moneris just released a survey that suggests overall spending at venues near Canada’s hockey arenas is down 11 per cent from a year ago on a game day.
The report considered businesses near Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome, Edmonton’s Rexall Place, Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and Montreal’s Bell Centre.
That 11 per cent figure, of course, is an average. Restaurants surveyed by Moneris, for example, said their business was down 11 per cent from a year ago on a game day, but it’s been much worse for some: other bars and pubs – “drinking establishments” – are down a whopping 35 per cent from a year ago on a game day.
Edmonton’s businesses have had it worst. Those near Rexall Place are down 27 per cent in sales from a year ago on a game day.
If we’re to spin this story in the right way, Moneris’ survey appears to show that at least consumers are still spending their hockey money, albeit not near the bloated, overpriced businesses close to Canada’s pro hockey arenas.
Instead, according to Moneris, merchants away from arenas have gotten a boom from the ongoing lockout, with spending at those businesses up 5.4 per cent from a year ago on a game day.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money