One of the biggest unfortunate byproducts of the NBA lockout and cancellation of games is how it will effect the local businesses around each NBA city. Some cities that share their arenas with an NHL team (like here in Boston) might not feel the hit as hard as NBA-only cities (like Orlando). Nevertheless, lost money is lost money despite what NBA players and agents might want you to believe otherwise. As a season ticket holder myself, I fully contribute to several of these businesses around the Garden on game nights.
Shelling out money to park, ride the T, eat at Boston Beer Works (or any of the fine restaurants along Causeway St., Canal St. and the North End), or going to Sullivan's Tap for a beer. Jason Keith who blogs on Boston.com describes how some of these businesses will feel the effects of a lost season. I don't know about you, but the first idea that I would have come up with would DEFINITELY be "Soprano Theme Night!"
And it’s not just the locations a stone’s throw from the TD Garden, other businesses rely on games to drive customers through the door as entertainment while having or dinner or drinks with friends. “On those really bad, cold and dark winter nights, it seems that those who are out are the fans. If the season is canceled, the winter nights will be slower than usual,” said Damien DiPaola, owner/chef of Vito’s Tavern in the North End.“A friend of mine who owns a bar near the Garden is in a panic. He counts on all Garden events. There is no way for them to make it up.”
While local small businesses that rely on “sports traffic”may be worried, one thing they shouldn’t be is unprepared. Many small business owners are already thinking about promotions and events to help make up for the potential loss of Celtics fans.
“Fortunately there will be hockey and football and of course college basketball,” DiPaola continued. “One (idea) would be to promote the hell out of college games. Half price tacos and wings on weekday game nights. Another gimmick would be to show Sopranos reruns and serve Soprano's style food at special prices.”
Keith also decribes how much revenue would be lost quoting one restaurant owner with the following:
“It’s probably about a $40,000 to $60,000 hit for the season, at least,” said Brad Dalbeck, owner of the Legendary Restaurant Group, which operates Max and Dylan’s in City Square. “Anybody on the immediate streets of the Garden should be very worried.”
$40 to $60k? That's nothing to scoff at for sure. Unless, of course, you're an NBA owner, player or agent then it's just pocket change or the stipend for a three game road trip. Take your time guys, we all understand your perils. In the meantime I think I'll head over to the North End for dinner, pop a quarter into the jukebox and blast "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.