VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s bad news for hockey fans; an NHL lockout might be on the horizon. But this might not be bad for the local economy with more money available for other things.

Brad Humphreys, Professor of Economics at the University of Alberta, says cities need not worry. He has looked at lockouts in other sports over the years and describes the effect of it on the local economy as: “none”.

“The evidence is that nothing happens,” he explains. “So the economic activity is identical in periods when there was a strike or lockout compared to periods where there was not.”

University of Ottawa Economist Marc Lavoie studied hotel bookings during the last NHL lockout. Out of 22 cities, five had a negative impact and one had a positive impact, “Either there is no impact or little impact on rates of occupation of hotel rooms. This, in fact, is quite consistent with other studies that focused on other economic activity in metropolitan areas.”

While things are level overall, both Humphreys and Lavoie says there is one area that will suffer.

“Businesses close to the sports facilities are likely to see a drop off,” admits Humphreys.
Fewer people will be in the area, therefore fewer will walk through the doors. But if they can survive the break, customers will return when the season gets back underway.

As well, instead of going into overpriced arena beers and foam fingers, your disposable income will be spread around in other ways, to other forms of entertainment and nourishment.

“They’re not going to see the Canucks anymore but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to spend their money. They spent their money on some sort of substitute entertainment,” says Humphreys.

And if it is going into local businesses, rather than the bank accounts of millionaire hockey players, Humphreys thinks that could be a good thing, “Most hockey players don’t live in the city they play in and hockey players don’t spend all of their salary in the local economy. They’re saving a lot of it. “

“Arenas and stadiums are like black holes, in the sense that people bring money in and then it disappears, it isn’t recirculated in the area,” concludes Lavoie.

As for the stadium employees who will have fewer games to work, Humphreys says some may be hurt financially but there will be other events to work and generally the part-time, low paying gigs are not the only source of income for them.