Small Business

Sports Bar Owners Relieved That NBA Lockout Is Finally Over

Geoff Willliams, The Huffington Post
Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association speaks next to Derek Fisher.
Getty Images

On Christmas Day, the economy will get a gift: the basketball season. As basketball fans well know, the 2011-2012 season looked to be in jeopardy, with no consensus on how $4 billion in revenue should be split between the players and the National Basketball Association.

But all has been resolved now, and while it may not seem like it at first glance, with the 150-day basketball strike ending and the first games returning on Dec. 25, an innumerable number of small-business owners are now breathing a sigh of relief.

"I'm very happy that everything is resolved," says Peter Lucido, owner of the Greatest Bar in Boston. "We didn't lose too much due to the strike, because of football season, but it hurt us a little bit, and we weren't looking forward to January and February when there's almost nothing to watch but basketball and hockey."

Jon Ottman, owner of the Portland Sports Bar and Grill in Portland, Ore., also says the NBA lockout hadn't become a huge factor yet for his business, but he's glad it's over, not only for him but for his customers. "I have some customers who are die-hard NBA fans, and they’re really looking forward to the season starting. We only have one professional team in Portland, and it’s important for them to have something to look forward to."

Like many sports bar owners, Lucido isn't thrilled by the economic stress that the players and NBA could have imposed on his profit margin and employees. "It's one of those things where greed became involved on both sides. It was pretty ridiculous."

But now the bar owners and their employees — as well as any businesses that depend on the basketball season — can avert economic disaster in early 2012. "We're definitely going to hire more people in the kitchen," Lucido says. "We need more cooks, and we'll have more shifts available, so everybody's going to make more money."