The loss of one game, let alone 10 or maybe all 82, will have a devastating impact on workers with jobs dependent on pro basketball’s six-month-plus season. A few teams have already trimmed their staffs and more layoffs could be forthcoming if the discussions drag on. Then there are those who don’t work directly for an NBA team but who still depend on the excitement the league brings to town.
Ushers, security personnel, parking lot attendants, concession workers, restaurant employees and others all stand to have their hours cut or join the country’s 14 million unemployed.
“Yeah, financially, I’m worried,” said waitress Jeannette Lauersdorf, a single mother of two, who on a quiet Wednesday afternoon is serving six guests at three tables inside Harry Buffalo. On a night the Cavs are playing, the place has a 30-minute wait for a table. “We’ve got bills to pay.”
Nerves, already frayed in a depressed economy, are unraveling.
As it was during the NFL’s labor dispute, certain cities around the league will bear more of a burden than others until the NBA gets bouncing again. Markets like Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Portland, with no other income being generated by a major professional sports franchise, could be facing a long winter.
At this point, there’s no telling how long the lockout will last, but NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver projected losses if the season’s opening two weeks are canceled in “the millions of dollars.”
– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press