U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is hoping the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will take notice of the economic impact being felt by entrepreneurs as the National Hockey League lockout continues. Casey has sent a letter to SBA Administrator Karen Mills asking that her office be ready to help.
“I respectfully request that that you work with the small businesses in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that are being harmed by the NHL lockout and provide them with the guidance and tools to get through this challenging climate,” said Casey in the letter.
The NHL has canceled games through January 14 as it negotiates with the NHL Players Association on the terms of a new labor agreement. Progress has been slow at best and negotiations have been more typically been described as broken down. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated a shortened season should probably have no fewer than 48 games compared to 82 for a normal regular season. But in order to accommodate 48 games a deal would most likely have to be reached by mid-January.
The letter goes on to note, “recently, the tourism bureau VisitPittsburgh completed a study that found each Penguins home game generates approximately $2.1 million worth of revenue. Nearly half of this revenue goes to small businesses that are visited by fans before and after games. If the entire NHL season is canceled, the city and its small businesses can expect to bear a loss of over $86 million in revenue, not including revenue from potential home playoff games.”
A similar estimate from Philadelphia finds a loss of about $1 million per game.
Casey said small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy, and he encourages the SBA to continue to monitor the situation and offer free counseling to businesses that rely heavily on NHL crowds for revenue. He said loans and micro loans might be needed to help offset short-term losses.
Pittsburgh is also losing amusement and parking taxes that would normally be generated by each home game. That total has been estimated at more than $70,000 a game.